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Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit emphasizing vaccine efforts

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) continues to make the COVID-19 Vaccination Program a top priority of the pandemic response. To date, the HNHU has administered nearly 180,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 20,000 booster doses.

In recent weeks the HNHU and partners across the two counties have been administering around 6,000 doses per week and that number is increasing following the holiday closures of some clinics and the reinstatement of mass immunization clinics this week in Caledonia, Dunnville, Simcoe, and Delhi.

Along with these new clinic locations, the HNHU has released thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments on the booking tool, www.hnhu.org/popup. Appointments are available for all age groups (five to 11, 12 to 29, and 30 plus) and in communities across the two counties. “We have been planning vaccination clinics across Haldimand and Norfolk,” said Jackie Wood, health planner. “Making sure that clinics are available locally and for different age groups, to make vaccination as accessible as possible for residents.”

“The COVID-19 vaccines, especially mRNA vaccines, are an instrumental tool in slowing the spread of infection in the community and reducing the severity of infection— and the likelihood of severe outcomes such as hospitalization or ventilator use and help to protect the capacity of local hospitals as we push through the Omicron wave,” said Dr. Kate Bishop-Williams, epidemiologist for HNHU. “Everyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine should get one as soon as they are able, including their booster doses. The main reason that Omicron appears to be less severe is that infections are occurring in a population that is predominantly vaccinated. Omicron continues to pose a very serious risk to those individuals who are unvaccinated.”

While the HNHU is focused on getting vaccines into as many arms as possible, the COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Team remains focused on serving a number of priority and high-risk populations:

  • Adults over the age of 50 years;
  • Women who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised;
  • Children who have not had a dose or who have had only one dose;
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance use conditions; and
  • Individuals in communities with lower vaccination rates

Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are still encouraged to receive their vaccine and booster doses to protect themselves from potential re-infection or others from transmission.

Following direction from the province, the HNHU has increased vaccine appointment availability for high-risk employee groups including health care workers, long-term care home employees, childcare staff, and education staff.

Residents are encouraged to take the first available vaccine for their first, second, or booster dose. The national shortage of Pfizer vaccine is expected to last for a few more weeks. Therefore, Pfizer vaccine will continue to be reserved for those 12 to 29 years old or with documented medical rationale to receive Pfizer over Moderna. There are no paediatric Pfizer supply concerns for children ages five to 11.