Windsor-Essex top doc not anticipating supply concerns with new bivalent vaccine

·2 min read
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's office on Ouellette Avenue is seen in a file photo. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's office on Ouellette Avenue is seen in a file photo. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

Anyone in Windsor-Essex who wants the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine should be able to receive the booster in a timely manner, according to the region's top doctor.

"I think we'll have enough supply to get vaccine to people who would like the vaccine," Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical of health for Windsor-Essex, said during a virtual media briefing on Wednesday.

The new bivalent vaccine, which targets the original strain of COVID-19 as well newer variants, became available to vulnerable populations earlier this month. As of Monday next week, anyone 18 and up is eligible to receive the booster.

Nicole Dupuis, the CEO of the health unit, said the vaccine is available in the community. The majority of the rollout is taking place settings such as long-term care and retirement homes.

The health unit does have vaccine appointments available as well, she said.

"We do have our appointments open and they are not completely full, so obviously we would like to see every opportunity taken," she said.

Bookings can also be made through other channels, including pharmacies and primary care providers.

223 students suspended

Meanwhile, out of an estimated population of 19,000 students who fall under vaccination requirement legislation, 223 in Windsor-Essex remain suspended due to their vaccination records being out of date, Nesathurai said.

The number of students requiring additional vaccines or an update to their records has declined dramatically in the lead up to September and into the school year. As of last week, 1,519 students faced suspension.

In Ontario, students are required to receive certain vaccines including the shots for illnesses like polio and measles. COVID-19 vaccines are not on the list.

Nesathurai said it was a "public health success" that the overwhelming majority of students are now up to date, but he wants to see more uptake.

"Vaccine-preventable diseases are making a re-emergence world wide and I think that we have to be vigilant in Windsor-Essex to keep the community safe," he said.