Local health unit’s preparing for 4th COVID-19 vaccine amid future ‘uncertainty’ – London | Canadian

As adults across the province are now eligible to book a fourth shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, local health units in and around London, Ont., are encouraging residents to roll up their sleeves for a booster.

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Ontario expands 4th COVID vaccine doses to those aged 18 to 59 amid 7th wave

Ontario’s top doctor, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced Wednesday morning that fourth COVID-19 dose eligibility will be expanded to include individuals aged 18 to 59 starting July 14 at 8 a.m.

Individuals over the age of 60 have been able to receive a fourth dose since early April.

The news comes as Ontario remains in the seventh wave of the pandemic, this time largely driven by the BA.5 Omicron subvariant.

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In line with the provincial government’s announcement, the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) and the Southwestern Public Health Unit opened booking availability for the expanded population on Thursday.

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“We know COVID-19 might not be top of mind as we get back to enjoying our favourite summer activities,” says Dr. Alex Summers, Medical Officer of Health with the MLHU. “However, COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community. Getting your first or second booster dose of vaccine helps to ensure that individuals have optimal protection for the summer months and into early fall.”

Summers told 980 CFPL that if residents decide to get a booster dose now, they will likely still be able to receive an Omicron-specific dose predicted to be available sometime in the fall.

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“It might be three months until that vaccine might be available and at that point you will likely be eligible for the Omicron-specific vaccine,” he explained. “Again, this is where things are a little bit uncertain.”

According to the Southwestern Public Health Unit, the recommended interval for the fourth dose is 140 days, or more than five months, after the previous booster dose while the minimum interval is 84 days, or around three months.

The recommended interval following a COVID-19 infection is also 84 days.

“Immunologists have learned that the effectiveness of the vaccine, or the protection we get following infection, decreases over time. At approximately the five-month mark, it’s time for those who are eligible, to get a booster to ensure our immune systems are primed and ready to protect us,” says Dr. Ninh Tran, acting medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health.

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“Specifically, we would like to see anyone who is moderately or severely immunocompromised, everyone over the age of 60, and members of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as those are the people at the highest risk of severe disease due to COVID-19 infection,” Tran added.

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COVID-19 modelling experts: the summer surge is here

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available through local pharmacies across the region.

Those interested in booking a COVID-19 vaccine shot should note the following information:

Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU)

  • The Health Unit strongly recommends that individuals book their second booster dose vaccination appointment in advance at www.covidvaccinelm.ca
  • Second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available at the MLHU mass vaccination clinics at the Western Fair District Agriplex and the Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges, as well as the Health Unit’s mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Southwestern Public Health Unit

  • Vaccinations are available through walk-in only (appointments are not available)
  • The dates, times and locations of scheduled clinics are updated daily at www.swpublichealth.ca/covid19vaccine.

Both health units stressed that due to the anticipated demand, community members should expect COVID-19 vaccination lineups particularly over the next two weeks.

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