Public health is planning a wide range of delivery methods for an upcoming increase in vaccine demand.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby says his department is “planning very vigorously” with approval of a COVID vaccine for kids age 5-11 on the horizon. Approval from Health Canada could come as early as this month.
Colby says Chatham-Kent clinics will take place at the Bradley Centre and in schools, citing what he says were successful vaccination efforts in high schools.
Still, Chatham-Kent 12-17 year-olds are just 68 per cent fully vaccinated, with 74 per cent having one dose. Both numbers are double digits behind the provincial averages, prompting questions of whether parents will be getting even younger kids the shot.
“My word of advice is that whenever you’re looking at vaccinations you put your trust in credible medical and scientific sources… The evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective for protecting people from severe disease and also effective in preventing transmission to others is overwhelming,” says Colby.
“As long as people stick to the facts I can’t see how somebody would not choose to protect their loved ones.”
Colby is also hoping pharmacies and primary care providers volunteer to assist the effort.
Booster shots for double vaccinated people are also expanding. Eligibility now includes anyone over 70, health care workers, Indigenous people and anyone who got two AstraZeneca doses or the single Johnson and Johnson shot.
“I think the uptake will be very good. We have been very busy planning for that, we did know this was coming,” says Colby.
The World Health Organization had previously expressed support for countries sharing their doses with countries that didn’t have many before boosting their own populations. But Colby thinks there will still be enough shots for everyone.
“It is vitally important that we provide vaccines to third world countries. Not only from a humanitarian point of view is this very important, but also in the unvaccinated the new variants can arise,” says Colby.
“There are more vaccines coming online and the existing manufacturers are continuing to ramp up production. As long as people prioritize this I think there will be enough vaccines to get everybody in the world done.”
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent