No Delta in Durham? Province declares it Delta hotspot anyway; accelerates second doses

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Durham Region was added to the list of ‘hot spots’ for the highly contagious Delta variants today, a move that expedites when residents can book their second dose of the vaccine.

Durham’s own health department, however, has yet to declare an outbreak of the Delta variant or any reports of it all in the region on their website, though Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham’s Medical Officer of Health, contradicted that slightly yesterday when he said the Region had not been identified as a Delta hot spot because there have been “few cases” of the variant locally.

The fact that the second dose rollout has been accelerated in Durham is welcome news to those who work in high-risk areas, as well as Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier, who wrote a letter to Kyle Tuesday saying his constituents are “anxiously awaiting” to be eligible for the second dose.

“Asking Durham’s residents, many of whom are vulnerable and live in highly transmissible situations that were previously identified as hotspots, to wait until July 19 (34 more days) for eligibility to be expanded seems short-sighted.”

Durham, Hamilton and Simcoe-Muskoka were all added to the Delta hot spot list today, joining Peel Region, Toronto, Wellington-Guelph-Dufferin, Porcupine, Waterloo, Halton Region and York Region.

Adult residents of these regions who received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine on May 30 or earlier will be eligible to book their second shot starting Wednesday (June 23).

Individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are also now eligible to receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at an interval of eight to 12 weeks, with informed consent.

Additionally, the province said that as of Monday (June 21) at 8 a.m., all Ontarians who received their first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine on or before May 9, 2021, will be eligible to book or rebook their second dose appointment at a shortened interval.

The acceleration of doses comes as vaccine supply continues to flow steadily into the province and across the country.

“The large increase of Moderna vaccines and steady supply of Pfizer has enabled Ontario to speed up second dose appointments, target hot spot areas and provide more options for people to become fully immunized,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones in a press release.

Individuals who are eligible to receive an accelerated second dose can schedule appointments through the provincial booking system, directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies.

Select primary care providers will also be reaching out to book appointments.

Durham reported just 11 cases of Covid-19 today, the lowest number recorded this year.

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