Middlesex-London Health Unit officials say London and Middlesex residents aged 50 and over will be eligible to book an appointment to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting on 13. /twelfth.
The eligibility update comes amid rising COVID-19 cases locally and across the province, as well as concerns about the new Omicron variant.
According to the health unit, to schedule a booster dose appointment at a local mass immunization clinic, eligible persons must have received a second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago.
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The announcement, made during Thursday’s COVID-19 press conference by Dr Alex Summers, deputy chief medical officer for the region, came as Dr Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer, also announced the announcement. similar at a press conference in Toronto.
“I would like to emphasize that the vaccine is also available at participating pharmacies, many of which are available in our community, as well as through participating primary care clinics,” Summers said. and adds that those 5 to 11 people will be given priority in mass vaccination clinics, as they are just starting to receive the first doses.
Nearly 11,000 appointments were booked among those 5-11 as of Wednesday, he said, representing nearly 30% of those eligible in that age group.
“We have capacity and will increase capacity from January to February for everyone who is eligible for a booster dose,” Summers said. More people are expected to become eligible based on age and COVID-19 risk next month.
“The bonus and benefit of a booster dose is that it will help… boost your immunity over a six-month period,” Summers says.
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Summers also alluded to the findings of a study published by colleagues recently that showed that delaying the second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine produced a stronger immune response than the two doses reported. injected close to each other.
“We are fortunate here in Canada (that) due to the delayed second dose interval… we have seen sustained immunity not only against infection and disease, but also the ability to sustained immunity against not only infection and disease, but also hospitalization and death. up to eight months,” he said.
“This booster just provides extra immunity, hopefully providing extra protection throughout the holiday season and through the winter.”
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Other individuals are also eligible to receive a third booster dose if they are under age 50. The medical unit indicates those who are eligible include health care workers; The first, Inuit and Métis adults, includes non-Indigenous family members; and people who have received two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Members of the general public who are immunocompromised are also eligible for booster shots. The medical unit said they could get the third shot two months after the second instead of six months.
Data released on Tuesday showed that about 90% of people 12 and older in the region had received at least one dose as of November 27, with 87.5 people having received two. Adjusted to include five to 11 people who started receiving the shot last week, the percentages were 83.3 and 80.0, respectively.
The calls for increased vaccinations come as the health department has recorded a recent increase in local COVID-19 cases, and as health officials across the country express concerns about the Omicron variation.
No cases linked to this variant have been confirmed in London-Middlesex yet, however, at least five cases were confirmed in Ontario as of Thursday – four in Ottawa and one in Durham Region.
As of Thursday, the seven-day average for London and Middlesex was 18.9 cases, up from 16.9 a week ago and 13.1 two weeks ago, according to the health unit’s data. medical officer. The average has been falling steadily since late August, but has been trending up since the beginning of the month.
“We report 27 new cases today and our seven-day incidence has increased to 24.7 per 100,000 people. This is a notable increase over the past week in our seven-day incidence,” Summers said Thursday.
“While earlier in the fall, incidence was highest in people under 11 years of age, we are now seeing a proportional increase in cases in 18 to 39 year olds.”
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Summers attributes the increase in cases among 18- to 39-year-olds to an increasing number of indoor gatherings due to colder weather, especially those involving people have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We’re not just seeing cases in unvaccinated people, we’re also seeing cases in people who have been vaccinated, but rates are still significantly higher in unvaccinated people,” he said. vaccinated.
“Furthermore, people who are not immunized are more likely to be hospitalized or have severe symptoms related to COVID 19.”
Last week, the health department issued an advisory urging Londoners to safely celebrate the approaching holiday season, by keeping gatherings small and ensuring those involved are vaccinated.
The medical unit has partnered with CF Masonville Place to run an expanded immunization clinic at the mall throughout December. The clinic opens on Wednesday and will operate five days a week from Wednesday. to Sunday, until New Year’s Eve.
– with files from the Canadian Press
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