Bus service offers Muskoka residents free ride to vaccination clinics
GRAVENHURST, ONT. -- The District of Muskoka has partnered with Hammond Transportation to give eligible residents in remote areas a lift to COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
Vaccination clinics are established in Bracebridge and Huntsville, but Gravenhurst Mayor Paul Kelly said he's disappointed it the lack of clinics.
"[It's] been a concern since day one," Kelly said. "So I haven't heard directly what's going to happen. My understanding is, at some point in time, there will be pop-up clinics."
Simcoe Muskoka's medical officer of health said the issue is a lack of resources to set up clinics across Muskoka.
"We are committed to using other means at our disposal," Dr. Charles Gardner said. "Pop-up clinics, mobile clinics, provision of vaccine to family practices and the Hammond bus service as a way of achieving equity to service with all of those approaches."
Hammond Transportation will provide free door-to-door transportation for residents with appointments at vaccination clinics in Huntsville and Bracebridge.
The health unit's immunization outreach also includes The Townships of Lake of Bays, Georgian Bay and Muskoka Lakes.
Gravenhurst's mayor said he remains skeptical that busing residents from one area to another can be done efficiently and fairly.
"It's such a large geographical area. To think that anyone could provide that kind of transportation and say it is equity, I just don't think that can happen," Kelly said.
Residents with vaccinations appointments in Huntsville or Bracebridge can contact Hammond Transportation Ltd. at (705) 645-2583 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The 'on demand' service operates on a first-come-first-serve basis.