Vaccine availability expanded at P.E.I. pharmacies

·3 min read
More young Islanders need to get vaccinated, says Dr. Heather Morrison. (CBC - image credit)
More young Islanders need to get vaccinated, says Dr. Heather Morrison. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. is lowering the age for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at pharmacies, in an effort to get more young people vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison made the announcement at a briefing on the pandemic Tuesday.

"Our rates of full vaccination are among the highest in the country, and we will continue to stress the importance of immunization in the younger age groups," said Morrison.

"Right now, our rates in the under-40 age groups are too low, especially the 20- to 29-year-olds."

Morrison said across age groups, 86.7 per cent of eligible Islanders are vaccinated, but the rate is just 74 per cent for people in their 20s.

Starting immediately, pharmacists can give the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone eligible. This adds people 12 to 17 to the group pharmacists can vaccinate.

Morrison said public health is working with the school system and Health P.E.I. on strategies to increase the uptake of vaccines in school-age children, and looking ahead to the potential approval of vaccines for children aged five to 11.

Morrison anticipates those vaccines will be available by Christmas.

Test kits for kids going home

Beginning next week, all families on P.E.I. with children in elementary school or at early learning centres will be provided at-home test kits.

The kits will be distributed to families by early-learning centres and schools, so that families can test children before they return to school if they show symptoms.

"We're trying to put that information together really clearly for parents," said Morrison.

There will be both a fact sheet and a video, she said.

Parents will be asked to use the tests if their children show any symptoms and they cannot get easy access to a testing site.

Positive results from the rapid test would need to be confirmed by a PCR test, she said.

New cases

Three new cases of COVID-19 were announced at the briefing.

Two of the cases were people in their 50s who recently travelled outside the province. The third, a person in their 20s, is still under investigation.

There is a travel notification connected to the new cases.

  • AC 8332 from Toronto to Charlottetown, Oct. 16.

Anyone on that flight is advised to watch for symptoms.

There are also new public exposure notifications in Charlottetown.

  • Friday, Oct. 15, Walmart Charlottetown from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

  • Saturday, Oct. 16, Dollarama in the Charlottetown Mall from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

  • Sunday, Oct. 17, Junko Market (161 Maypoint Road) from 4 to 4:15 p.m., Walmart Charlottetown from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m., and Freshest Fruits and Vegetables (421 University Avenue) from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

Anyone who visited any of these locations at these times who is not fully vaccinated should visit a drop-in testing clinic to be tested and monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the exposure, public health said. If symptoms develop, people should be re-tested.

Anyone who visited these locations at the above times who is fully vaccinated is advised to monitor for symptoms for 14 days and if symptoms develop, visit a drop-in testing clinic.

COVID-19 cases on P.E.I.

Potential COVID-19 exposure sites

With three recoveries, the number of active cases on P.E.I. remains at seven. The province has seen a total of 315 cases.

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