95% of little kids in 2 Hamilton neighbourhoods yet to get COVID-19 vaccine


Published December 28, 2022 at 5:12 pm

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Some five months after the first vaccine against COVID-19 was approved for children under 5, much of Hamilton has single-digit uptake in that age group even though the city is in a pediatric health crisis.

However parents or caregivers make their decisions, vaccination rates vary widely among Hamilton neighhourhoods as the three-year mark of the global pandemic nears. The most up-to-date numbers from ICES, an Ontario research institute, show a wide range in vaccination rates among infants, babies, and preschoolers. Effectively, that means whether a child who is coughing in a public space is vaccinated is hugely contingent on where they live and what part of Hamilton you are in.

Smaller children are not considered vulnerable to direct severe outcomes of COVID-19. At least three peer-reviewed studies have shown that COVID-19 can harm a person’s T-cells, the first line of defence in the immune system. This increases vulnerability to other infections. The current crisis in pediatric care at McMaster Children’s Hospital stems not only from COVID-19 transmission, but from a strong RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and flu seasons combining to create a so-called ‘tripledemic.’

Neighbourhoods are defined by forward sortation areas (FSAs, the first three characters in a postal code). For instance, the L8P area in central and west Hamilton has a city-best 23.43% coverage among tiny humans under age 5. The L9H area in Dundas is at 21.38.

Those numbers are as of Dec. 4. They would not count any child who has had their first dose, or a child over age 5 who has had a second or third, in the last three weeks.

Twelve of the 19 FSAs were under 10%. Seven were at least a half percentage point below Public Health Ontario’s provincewide average of 8.20.

Conversely, the L8E area in Stoney Creek had only a 4.64 uptake among the little ones at the start of this month. The L8W FSA on the central Mountain was at only 4.76.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for babies, infants and preschoolers received Health Canada approval on July 14, and doses were available by the end of that month. Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine was approved on Sept. 9.

Third doses for 5- to 11-year-old children were made available by the province on Aug. 31.

The data from ICES also finds some range in uptake among elementary school-aged children and young teenagers.

    • Children ages 5 to 11 with at least two doses: Again, the L9H FSA in Dundas has the highest two-dose coverage at 84.68, followed closely by L8P at 84.38. But three areas, all in the lower city, are under 60%.


    • Children ages 12 to 15 with at least two doses: Only three parts of Hamilton (L9H again, L8P again, and L9G in Ancaster and Flamborough) have surpassed 50% per cent of what the province, if not independent medical science, considered to be fully vaccinated when health protections were in place (until March). The L8H area in east Hamilton just passed 20 per cent at the start of the month.
    • Children ages 12 to 15 with at least three doses: Similarly, only three parts of Hamilton are north of 28% at this level of uptake. Those include L8P and L9H again, followed by L8S, which encompasses the Ainslie Wood and Westdale South neighbourhoods located near McMaster University and MCH.

      Meantime, three other neighbourhoods remain in single digits.The only one of those not previously mentioned is the downtown L8R sector, which takes in the north end and the downtown Beasley neighbourhood. Only 8.27% of 12- to 15-year-olds there have had three doses. But the neighbourhood’s uptake for children under 5 is 8.94%, which is above the provincial average.

Here is how the numbers compare across each FSA in Hamilton (source: ICES).

Under 5 Ages 5-11 Ages 12-15 Ages 12-15
FSA At least 1 dose At least 2 doses At least 2 doses At least 3 doses
L8P 23.43% 84.38% 51.30% 31.25%
L9H 21.38% 84.68% 55.70% 29.76%
L8M 19.31% 60.45% 32.42% 11.89%
L9G 16.61% 83.86% 54.60% 23.16%
L8S 14.52% 75.23% 44.33% 28.18%
L8B 13.38% 81.82% 42.40% 20.14%
L9C 10.64% 78.86% 34.78% 18.20%
L8L 10.08% 59.41% 22.60% 7.96%
L8R 8.94% 59.68% 26.42% 8.27%
L8K 8.93% 64.41% 26.61% 11.89%
L8T 8.46% 68.65% 33.33% 12.31%
Avg. 8.20%
L8V 8.16% 68.30% 31.21% 14.53%
L9K 7.80% 79.56% 40.24% 17.00%
L9B 7.46% 75.45% 35.30% 11.82%
L8N 7.41% 58.37% 24.80% 11.40%
L8J 6.37% 73.00% 31.95% 12.53%
L9A 6.28% 72.86% 29.92% 13.53%
L8H 5.39% 61.56% 20.01% 7.80%
L8G 5.31% 72.95% 30.98% 12.18%
L8W 4.76% 70.12% 30.22% 10.79%
L8E 4.64% 70.96% 29.87% 10.18%


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