General News

Peel turns focus to targeted vaccination approach as mass clinics wind down

July 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Rob Paul

Peel continues to see positive trends with COVID cases as vaccination coverage increases.

As of July 27, the Region has seen 111,804 total cases of COVID-19 and 824 deaths—an increase of 135 cases and four deaths since last week.

Specifically in Caledon, there were only four more cases over the last week to bring the Town’s total to 4,445. Once again, there were no COVID related deaths with the total remaining at 20.

Now clear over the two million threshold, Peel has administered 2,136,405 doses of the vaccine with 87,654 over the last seven-day cycle (July 19 to 25). The decrease in weekly doses administered was strategic as part of the Region’s plan to put more focus on a targeted approach.

In total, 1,210,246 Peel residents have at least one dose and 926,159 have completed the vaccination process. 69.8 per cent of all residents have initiated vaccination and 56.3 per cent of the population has completed it—81 per cent of adults have one dose and 66 per cent have both while 80.3 per cent of residents 12-plus have one dose and 64.7 per cent have both.

With the success Peel has had in getting vaccine coverage, the Region is transitioning to a new approach. As part of the plan, the International Centre vaccination clinic in Mississauga closed on July 26—all other clinics will continue to operate at this time with adjustments based on community need.

“Peel has been successful with our mass vaccination clinics, and the overall vaccine rollout, with more than 80 per cent of eligible Peel residents over aged 12 with one dose and nearly 65 per cent with two doses,” said a spokesperson for Peel Public Health. “As a result of these coverage rates among adults and great progress toward youth vaccination coverage, we are beginning to scale back operations at our fixed mass vaccination clinics. Our clinics are not as busy as they once were, so there is less need for this mass vaccination clinic at this point in time.”

Peel Public Health’s shift is to ensure that those who have not been able to get access to the vaccine are prioritized as summer ends and the colder seasons approach. 

“Throughout the rest of summer and into the fall, as coverage increases, our focus will shift to targeted approaches to reach those who still need to be vaccinated,” said the spokesperson. “Planning and delivery of mobile and community clinics with our numerous community partners will continue to ensure none of our residents are left behind in the vaccination effort. We will continue to monitor and assess operational requirements to meet current needs and to plan future COVID vaccination program requirements.”

Mobile clinics and outreach efforts will continue to reach residents who have not yet accessed first doses or complete vaccination with second doses, and it is anticipated that increased focus on these efforts will ramp up soon. 

This includes continued vaccination of homebound residents and pop-up clinics in the community at schools and other neighbourhood spaces. These efforts will continue to reduce barriers to vaccination in areas of lower uptake, so no one gets left behind.

All residents who are 12 years or older are encouraged to book their first dose if they haven’t received it yet. Residents are also being asked to re-book their second dose as quickly as possible if it has been 28 days since their first dose.

“We want to thank all residents who have rolled up their sleeves and quickly accessed first and second dose protection,” said Loh. “Because of you, we can celebrate these fantastic milestones. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I urge you to access this protection as soon as possible. We have appointments available, including walk-in appointments, so please don’t delay.”

To also help with encouraging more residents in Peel to get vaccinated, the Region is running a Pfizer Friday promotion at all mass clinics now that it has secured enough Pfizer vaccine to administer it again. 

This promotion comes after some people were refusing to receive the Moderna vaccine when there were shortages of Pfizer, despite Loh encouraging residents to mix mRNA vaccines to ensure safety. 

“As supply improves, we are going to start offering special dose days to ensure that those who are delaying based on the basis of brand, and not science, can access protection,” Loh said. “This will be by appointment only and no walk-ins will be allowed, but all Region of Peel public health clinics will be offering Pfizer. I want to be very clear that this is in supporting brand as opposed to science and we will announce such occasional events of social dose days where supply permits us to do so. Otherwise, I encourage everyone to remember that the products are equivalent, and I thank you for getting two doses of the product as quickly as possible.”

There have also been concerns from those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca (AZ), after information arose that linked it to blood clots, but Loh says it’s safe to mix AZ with an mRNA as well.

“It’s clear that AstraZeneca plus an mRNA vaccine does provide equivalent if not slightly more robust protection,” he said. “The only downside is it may have slightly more side effects—at least based on the data that comes out of some Europeans studies. But the side effects in general of any vaccine are mild and they tend to be much more transient as opposed to the roulette wheel of what happens with a novel infection if you’re unvaccinated. If you received AstraZeneca, the rule is you can either get another dose of AstraZeneca or you can choose to get one of the two mRNA vaccines.”

Something else Loh addressed was the anxiety people are feeling about mixing vaccines due to potential travel restrictions.

“The reality is that the policy environment is still shifting rapidly, and it’s likely in the future through numerous negotiations, policy will likely reflect practice,” he said. “Right now, while there may be questions around ability to travel and access in other jurisdictions, the reality is that policy will catchup eventually. The most important thing right now, especially here in Canada, is that you get two doses of any approved combination.”  

To book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through the Provincial website (covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/), at any of Peel’s pop-up clinics (peelregion.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/book-appointment/#popup), or participating pharmacies (peelregion.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/book-appointment/#pharm). 



         

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