Sunday, January 23, 2022

In-school clinics, more walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccines being planned

Waterloo Area – School clinics and more walk-ins are being explored to promote COVID-19 vaccination among children and adults in the Waterloo area.

As the threat of the Omicron variant remains high, many residents have booked appointments for doses this month.

But in January, about half the appointments remain open.

“I encourage everyone to book their appointment as soon as possible,” regional vaccine services director Vicki Murray said during Friday’s briefing.

Murray said 30,5,000 appointments have been booked as of the end of January, while about 16,000 are still available.

By the end of Thursday the number of locally administered doses reached 233,324 – 41,000 more than the previous week. More than half (53 percent) of all eligible residents have had a booster dose.

On an average, around 7,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses are administered every day locally.

vaccination in school

The region is working with local school boards on offering at-school vaccinations for children – an initiative announced by the province earlier this week.

“We want to make sure we do it in a way that is supportive and helpful to parents and families,” Murray said. “Definitely the work is progressing and we expect to get more details next week.”

However, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health, stressed that these school-based clinics would be just another vaccination option.

“Right now there’s a lot of access to appointments for five to 11-year-olds,” Wang said. “There are also many parents who want to be with their children when they are vaccinated, especially for young children.”

That’s why she said the area began with out-of-hours and weekend clinics held in schools when parents were available. Wang said it would be necessary to assess the demand for the vaccine for students at the school before the plan could begin.

“You also have to look at what is best for the clinic to use a limited number of employees to get the best output,” Wang said. Resources judiciously.

Half of children between the ages of five and 11 are shy of taking at least one dose. This age group will soon be given a second dose.

walk-in vaccination

Murray said the task force is also looking at getting more walk-ins.

“I really see it in my future very soon, likely next week,” she said.

“I think it’s something that we have to work on based on demand. If everyone shows up at the same time it’s really hard to manage. If there’s a long lineup and it’s a cold there’s a lot of need to wait in some clinics. So we really want to be aware of what that demand is and make sure we can handle it before we open it up for walk-ins.”

For example, at the Pinebush Clinic in Cambridge, 300 to 400 people came through the door every hour. Showing another 200 at the same time for the walk-in will be a huge challenge.

“It’s a good balance. It’s really top of mind. I know it will make people’s lives easier. We’ve tried to open as many walk-ins as possible and I hope it comes,” Murray said. said.

A total of 1,190,647 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to regional residents: 87.10 percent of residents five and older received at least one dose, and 81.26 percent have been fully vaccinated.

“Vaccination continues to provide powerful protection against serious illness from COVID-19. This is why residents should not delay taking the first, second or third dose,” Wang said.

fourth dose

Residents who are immunized to moderately severe to severe can book an appointment for the fourth dose, as long as it has been 84 days since their third dose.

This is the specific group of immunocompromised who were previously eligible for the third dose, and eligible health conditions and medications are listed on the Ministry of Health website (gov.on.ca).

Regional vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies and doctors’ offices will give the fourth dose. Some clinics will also accept walk-ins for the fourth dose depending on capacity.

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