Nearly 10 per cent of vaccine clinic attendees decline COVID-19 shots due to the manufacturers, Dr. Natalie Bocking said.
“I have to admit I don’t fully understand all the hesitations on the Moderna vaccine,” she said during a media information session Jan. 12.
She added there’s “very good” data indicating Moderna works. It boosts immunity and has similar side effects to a Pfizer shot. “It’s certainly equivalent to a Pfizer booster dose if not better,” she said. “Both are equally effective.”
Those under 30 will get Pfizer shots at HKPR vaccination locations, due to a provincial shortage of the Moderna vaccine. Moderna has been associated with infrequent instances of heart inflammation in the age group.
Earlier in the pandemic, there were reports of countries not recognizing vaccination matching, for instance receiving an AstraZeneca shot and then a Moderna shot.
Now, Bocking said there is widespread agreement that mixing shots is effective, and travelers need not be concerned. A booster shot, she said, is vital in decreasing the risk of “both symptomatic illness as well as severe illness.”
In the 70-plus age group, 70.4 per cent of people have received a booster dose, as well as 43 per cent of people 18 and older. “We’ve made incremental increases in the coverage among five-11,” she said.
An initial strong uptake amongst families has “leveled off” in the age group. It’s recommended to wait eight weeks between doses for kids.
She encouraged parents to research the vaccine’s safety record: no serious side effects have been recorded in the vaccine’s testing and rollout. There are numerous resources such as kidshealthfirst.ca that answer questions and offer ways to speak one-on-one with clinicians about the vaccine’s effectiveness for kids.
While early studies show Omicron to be a milder variant than previous strains, exponential case growth in the beginning of January caused multiple hospitals in Ontario to sound the alarm over staffing shortages and rising hospitalizations.
As of Jan. 18, immuno-compromised people and those over the age of 50 can get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine without a prior appointment. Walk-ins are now welcome between 1-4:30 p.m. any day the clinic is operating at the Minden arena. Dr. Bocking urged those 70 and older to get a shot as soon as possible.
“Older adults have a greater risk of getting sick from COVID-19, and that’s why we encourage anyone age 70 and older who still needs a booster dose to get one,” she said in a press release. “Book an appointment or walk into any of our clinics in the afternoon, and we will be happy to provide you one.”
The health unit will be at the Minden arena Jan. 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 and Feb. 3, 4 with more dates announced regularly. GO-VAXX bus returns The GO-VAXX bus will be returning to Haliburton County next week.
The retrofitted bus that serves as a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be available to provide first, second and booster doses to eligible individuals, including children aged five to 11. It will be at A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton on Jan. 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Appointments can be booked starting at 8 a.m. Jan. 28 through the provincial booking system, or by calling 1-833-943-3900. Individuals wishing to receive a vaccine should bring their Ontario health card. If you do not have a health card, or your health card is expired, bring another form of government ID such as a driver’s license, passport, status card or birth certificate.
The GO-VAXX bus will also be at Lloyd Watson Community Centre in Wilberforce Feb. 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will be back at A.J. LaRue Arena Feb. 12, also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you are unable to book an appointment with the GO-VAXX bus, the health unit has appointments available at various COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the region.
A list of dates and times is available at www.hkpr.on.ca. Some pharmacies are also providing vaccines.