As Chatham-Kent’s vaccination team continues their strong effort towards getting more of the population their second doses, a large focus is being placed on getting people 12-17 years of age their vaccines.
According to Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health, vaccinating school-aged children is among the top priorities right now to make sure students are fully immunized when returning to school in September.
“It’s a major priority target for right now,” said Colby. “The idea is to get that group vaccinated with two doses before school starts in September.”
Colby added that there are more targets in the Province of Ontario than simply the vaccination targets but noted hospitalized patients are down, there are no outbreaks right now, and Chatham-Kent has only three active cases as of June 25.
He also noted it’s time to fully embrace mixing vaccines, which will help with vaccine supply to get more youth aged 12-17 vaccinated.
“I think it’s time we really embrace mixing fully,” said Colby. “Pfizer and Madonna are both messenger RNA vaccines, they use the same spike protein as their target, and they’re interchangeable. And there’s been a tremendous amount of provincial and national messaging and expert opinion to support that.”
The Medical Officer of Health added there are always variations in the reliability of the supply lines, adding residents should not hold out for a specific brand of vaccine.
“If you need to get somewhere and you call a taxi, you shouldn’t decide whether you get in whether a Chevy or a Ford shows up. They’re both going to get you where you want to go. Get on board and roll up your sleeves,” said Colby.
Colby noted that it’s important residents do not hold out for a specific brand of vaccine as Pfizer is the only vaccine approved by Health Canada for youth 12 to 17-year-olds.
“We have to reserve what Pfizer doses we have,” said Colby. “People have to be open to getting a different brand. And there really should be no hesitancy. They don’t have differences that are significant in terms of efficacy, side effects or anything. They’re both excellent, excellent vaccines.”
As of June 25, 42 percent of Chatham-Kent youth age 12-17 have received at least one dose.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News