By Sue Tiffin
The following are brief reports from a Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district health unit press conference held virtually on June 2 with medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking.
The health unit recommends youth aged 12 to 17 years of age get the COVID-19 vaccine, and has sent a message through the Trillium Lakelands District School board to parents, guardians and students regarding upcoming youth vaccination clinics.
“Vaccinating youth protects them from being infected with COVID-19, getting sick from COVID-19 [and] spreading COVID-19 to others,” reads the letter.
Youth-only immunization clinics will take place at mass immunization clinics throughout the region. A clinic will be held at the Campbellford Curling Club on June 21, at the Cobourg Community Centre on June 14, 20 and 27, at the Fenelon Falls Community Centre on June 25, at the Lindsay Exhibition on June 15, 17, 19 and 22 and at Minden’s S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena on June 26.
vaccines-youth to learn more or call 1-833-943-3900 to book an appointment.
Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team is hosting a vaccination clinic for students aged 12 to 17 on June 23 at the Haliburton Family Medical Centre, according to a June 1 press release from the HHFHT.
“As you are aware, vaccination has proven to be an effective measure in the control of COVID-19,” reads the release, signed by Dr. Tina Stephenson. “The toll of school closures is huge and so the safe reopening of schools is key to improvements in both the mental, physical and academic well-being of your youth.”
The clinic will be held from 3 to 7 p.m., with later hours to “help accommodate transportation challenges,” according to the release. Registration and appointment booking must be made in order to have accurate quantity of vaccine delivered – the vaccine available is made by Pfizer, which is the vaccine that has so far been approved for those 12 and up, and 150 doses are available. By June 21, call 705-457-1212 and select option 5 or 6 to set up an appointment.
The health unit told reporters there are 4,320 youth-only appointments available through clinics in all three counties. Youth aged 12 to 17 are also able to book appointments through pharmacies and their primary health care providers.
The school health team of the health unit can be reached at 1-866-888-4577, extension 1508.
Booking accelerated second shot appointments
As of Monday, June 7, individuals turning 70 and older in 2021, as well as those who received their first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines on or before April 18 will be able to book an earlier appointment for their second dose of vaccine at a mass immunization clinic, including those in Haliburton County.
To book a first or second dose vaccine appointment, subject to availability, visit www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or call 1-888-999-6488.
“As its vaccine supply increases, the HKPRD health unit is providing more vaccination booking appointments in coming weeks across its region, including Haliburton County,” said Bill Eekhof, spokesperson for the health unit. “If individuals cannot immediately book a local appointment, they should check back as the health unit will be adding more clinic slots on the provincial booking system.”
Vaccine appointments for second doses can also be booked through pharmacies and primary care providers taking part in the vaccine roll-out.
Most HKPR COVID-19 cases since April identified as variants of concern
Since April 1, 73.6 per cent of new cases across the HKPR region have been identified as variants of concern. As of June 2, 730 cases in the region had screened positive as a variant of concern, with 372 of those cases in City of Kawartha Lakes, 325 in Northumberland County and 33 in Haliburton County. “For these mutations, we still don’t have confirmation of which variants of concern some of those lab values were, but the vast majority has still remained to be the B117 variant, which is the variant identified in the U.K.,” said Bocking.
HKPR residents 65 per cent vaccinated
As of May 31, 82,934 doses of vaccine had been administered throughout the HKPR region, with 104,784 residents having received their first dose – some in other regions – and 11,108 residents having received both their first and second dose of vaccine. In terms of the proportion of population who have received the vaccine, 61.1 per cent of the HKPRD population 12 and older has received their first dose, 64.6 per cent of the population that is 18 and older has received their first dose, and 81.7 per cent of the population that is 60 and older has received their first dose. Bocking said that as of May 31, the region’s population is 64.6 per cent vaccinated, which she said is “pretty close,” with the 65 per cent target set for the end of May by the province, noting that goal had been reached in the days between the end of May and the date of the press conference.
“That’s quite exciting and quite a huge achievement for residents in our region and all of the healthcare partners and community organizations that have been participating and supporting this vaccine rollout,” said Bocking.