CORNWALL – Recent supply issues of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have now reached the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region. Because of this, and an increase in supply of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna, people attending EOHU-run vaccination clinics will receive Moderna instead of Pfizer.
“We are reserving the Pfizer doses for those who can only have that vaccine,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the health unit. He said that because both Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA-type vaccines, there is no issue with interchanging the doses.
Pfizer vaccine doses are being reserved for those age 12-17 as it is the only approved vaccine available for that age group.
Unlike larger urban areas of the province, Roumeliotis said that the health unit has not seen any vaccine doses being wasted by not having people attending appointments.
He credited the changes to the standby list for each clinic, which fills any empty spots to make sure that no dose is wasted.
“We have a very good standby system now that works very well, and so far we haven’t had to waste any shots.” he said.
Since vaccinations began six months ago in the region, 159,905 doses have been given, more than 110,000 of those in EOHU operated clinics.
When asked about regulations for Step Two of Ontario’s three-step reopening plan, Roumeliotis said that the health units have not received anything yet from the government.
“When I asked the ministry last week when are we getting the regulations they said seven-to-10 days,” Roumeliotis said. “So hopefully we will get something this week.”
As the province has already reached the vaccination benchmarks for entering the next stage of the plan, Ontario could move into Step Two as early as July 2. There are at least 21 days between each step in the reopening plan.
Local numbers update
Between June 18 and June 21, there was only one new COVID-19 infection reported.
As of the June 21 update by the EOHU, there are 11 active infections, and 4,731 overall cases since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations remain low with only one person in hospital. That person is in an ICU at a hospital in Ottawa. There are no outbreaks in any facilities, and no new deaths reported in the past week.
Statistics used to show the prevalence of the virus in the region are so low right now that they cannot give a reading.
Roumeliotis told journalists during his June 21 weekly media availability that the reproductive rate cannot be calculated as it requires at least 12 active cases.
The seven-day average of new infections sits at 3.6 per 100,000 people. Test positivity is 0.6 per cent.
“These are all really good numbers,” he added.
In the EOHU region, only seven out of the 16 jurisdictions report active COVID-19 infections. This includes three in South Dundas, three in the City of Cornwall, and one case each in North Dundas, South Glengarry, The Nation, Clarence-Rockland, and Alfred and Plantagenet.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader