The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) is inviting anyone 12 years of age and older to visit its mass immunization clinic in Minden for a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The health unit said no appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.

“We are receiving a lot more vaccine which means we can offer more appointments and opportunities for people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit. “Our goal is to vaccinate as many residents as possible so we can all be protected from COVID and not have to see any further shutdowns, illness or deaths.”

While there are still thousands of appointments available at Health Unit clinics until the end of July, Dr. Bocking said residents can also now visit a clinic as a walk-in for their first or second dose. Anyone coming to a clinic is asked to bring their Ontario Health Card.

There is a clinic at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena – 55 Parkside St., Minden – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clinic dates are listed on the Health Unit’s website at hkpr.on.ca

Dr. Bocking said some people may still prefer an appointment, and there are many spots still available through the provincial booking system for Health Unit clinics throughout the region. As well, area residents can get vaccinated at local pharmacies, or through pop-up clinics being hosted by local hospitals, family health teams and community health teams. Walk-ins are also welcome at many of these clinics.

With so many opportunities to get vaccinated, Dr. Bocking is urging everyone who has a second dose appointment currently booked for August, September or October to get their second dose sooner. She said two doses offer better protection from the Delta variant, which is now prevalent throughout the province.

“We know the Delta variant is more transmissible and can cause more severe illness so it’s important people get their second dose as soon as they can to ensure they are protected,” Dr. Bocking said.

The other group Dr. Bocking hopes to see take advantage of the increased access to vaccine right now is local youth. With in-person learning expected to resume in the fall, Dr. Bocking said it’s crucial that youth aged 12 to 17 years get both doses before schools starts back in the fall.

“While most young people who got COVID did not suffer severe symptoms, we don’t know if that will be the case with the variants of concern we are seeing now,” Dr. Bocking said. “For their protection, and the protection of their family and community members, it’s important that our youth get vaccinated.”

Positivity rates

The Haliburton County Community COVID-19 Assessment Centre Positivity Rate Report shows declining COVID-19 cases in the area.

At the time of the latest report, there were no unresolved cases in the County.

For the period June 14-25, the positivity rate was 0.714 per cent. That was down from 2.49 per cent from the May 31-June 11 period. The assessment centre averaged 70 tests a week for the time period with zero cases of COVID variants.

There have been 122 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

“Although the overall number of COVID19 positive cases are declining, it is critical that public health measures continue to be followed in order to help prevent further spread of the virus and the VOCs, particularly as the province moves ahead with its Roadmap to Reopen plan,” the partners said in a media release.

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