Health department prepares rollout of COVID vaccine for children in Milton, Oakville, Burlington

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Published October 22, 2021 at 4:07 pm

Halton’s medical officer of health provided an update on the region’s overall vaccination progress to date at the recent Halton Region council meeting.

Dr. Hamidah Meghani told councillors from Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills that, as of Oct. 17, 87 per cent of the Halton population aged 12 and up has had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 84 per cent have had two doses.

That is right in line with the provincial numbers, as well.

But Meghani recognizes there’s still more to do.

“We are deeply committed to ensuring we remove barriers to vaccinations and provide accessible and trusted information to every resident,” she said via video at Wednesday’s meeting.

Meghani said, like many areas of the province, rates among young adults are lowest. She said there may be some vaccine hesitancy, but also attributed it to potentially-skewed data based on things like out-of-date addresses on health cards or students at post-secondary institutions.

“At this time, our focus is on last-mile activities and reaching as many unvaccinated people in Halton as possible.

Meghani also addressed the breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people.

“No vaccine is perfect, we expect to see COVID-19 in people who have been vaccinated. However, we have continued to see the risk of infection and hospitalization are greater among unvaccinated people.

“New data from the Ontario Science Table shows unvaccinated people have seven-fold higher risk of getting COVID-19, a 21-fold higher risk of being in the hospital and a 30-fold higher risk of being in the ICU.”

As for the future, Meghani said her department is preparing plans for when Pfizer’s vaccine is approved for 5-11 year olds.

“Pfizer presented results of studies in 5-11 year olds showing vaccines were safe, tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses.”

In addition, Halton Public Health has finished giving third vaccine doses to residents living in long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes. Plans continue to reach the remainder of seniors. It’s recommended third doses, if needed, come at least six months after a second dose.

“In conclusion, as we progress through the fall and winter, I encourage all those eligible to get fully vaccinated and to continue with public health measures, including wearing your mask, physical distancing and hand hygiene.”

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