Hamilton’s initial doses of the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine began to reach the arms of children when the next step in the city’s vaccination plan began Thursday morning.
More than 42,000 children are eligible for the vaccine according to public health and as of the morning of November 25, more than 5,500 have been scheduled in the city’s VERTO reserve system.
The city’s chief of COVID operations, Michelle Baird, says that during this vaccine round, supply will not be a problem with the procurement of 2.9 million pediatric doses from Canada from the large-scale drug maker.
Childhood COVID Vaccination Clinics Increase in Ontario
The city’s strategy was developed in consultation with McMaster’s Children’s Hospital, which sought the best family settings for dosing, such as Lime Ridge Mall and Center on Barton.
The initial launch has a three-month schedule with clinics scheduled from November through the end of January.
“The other piece I would add is that if you have not received a first or second dose yourself and have booked your five to 11 year old, you can certainly come in and receive a dose of the vaccine yourself, and we would encourage you to do that, ”Baird told CHML 900 Good Morning Hamilton.
For the most part, bookings have been relatively smooth with only a few challenges for some parents and guardians trying to book appointments via mobile device, according to public health.
Baird says the process is a continuous booking system with appointments available every day, within two weeks.
“So we are filling appointments as they load,” Baird said.
Additional vaccines are available through separate reservations for the primary care clinic at the David Bailey Center and the city’s more than 50 pharmacies that carry vaccines.
School clinics are generally not part of the initial rollout due to the complexity of such a campaign that requires parents and guardians to be present for vaccinations, although Baird says there will be some exceptions.
“We have a number of school vaccine clinics on the way, particularly focused on schools where (vaccine) coverage might be a little lower than we’d like,” Baird said.
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National Immunization Advisory Committee of Canada (NACI) recommends a two-dose regimen given eight weeks apart for efficacy similar to that of a single dose for adults.
Data from clinical trials reported by NACI revealed that the last two phases of the pediatric formulation involving 2,268 children produced “a good immune response” in 1,517 children between the ages of five and 11 years with an estimated efficacy of 90.7 percent. .
More than 83% of eligible Hamiltonians age 12 and older are fully vaccinated
Over the past seven days, Hamilton’s health partners administered just over 8,300 doses of vaccines, and on Friday he recorded the highest intake for the week – 1,556 injections.
The November average of 1,057 shots per day is slightly lower than what was recorded throughout October of 1,068 and further behind the September average of 1,488 per day.
Ontario Reports 748 New COVID-19 Cases, 4 More Deaths
As of Wednesday, 83.1 percent of eligible Hamiltonians age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, while 86 percent have received at least a single dose. The city still lags behind the provincial average, which sees 86.1 percent fully vaccinated and 89.1 percent with at least one dose of vaccine.
Residents ages 70 to 84 have reached the health ministry goal of 90% coverage of the first and second doses, while Hamiltonians ages 25 to 29 represent the lowest vaccination rates of those eligible in the community with only 72.9% fully vaccinated.
Hamilton trails 31 other public health units in the percentage of two-dose vaccines in Ontario.
Hamilton’s weekly COVID-19 case rate increased slightly
Hamilton’s daily COVID-19 case rate increased slightly day-over-day and public health reported a seven-day average case rate of 22 as of Thursday, one higher than Wednesday.
So far, throughout November, the city has an average case rate of 18 per day, slightly lower than the 22 cases per day reported in October.
Active cases also rose again to 204 as of Thursday, increasing 23 cases from the 181 reported on Wednesday.
More than 67% of all active cases correspond to people under 50 years of age, while 42% are under 30 years of age.
The city’s percent positivity rate, which represents the number of tests that returned positive in labs, has risen a little more week-over-week to 2.4 percent from the 1.4 reported last week.
Hamilton’s number is approaching the provincial average of 2.6 percent reported Thursday.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Hamilton has reported 25,670 COVID cases.
Ontario Reports 627 New COVID-19 Cases, 1 More Death
There are nine ongoing outbreaks reported linked to 66 total cases across the city as of November 25. The largest is at St. Peter’s Hospital, which has 18 cases in total: four among staff and 14 among patients.
The hospital has reported one death in the surge. The COVID-related death toll in the city since the pandemic began is 419 as of Thursday, with the latest involving a person over the age of 80.
Of the schools in the midst of an outbreak, the Catholic board’s St. Gabriel Elementary on Barton Street in Stoney Creek is the largest of the five with cases linked to 13 students and one staff member.
In the past 14 days, both public boards together have reported 47 cases with 37 among students.
Hospitals in Hamilton reported a total of 12 COVID patients as of Thursday, seven at Hamilton Health Sciences and five at St. Joe’s.
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