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Distribution of the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway in Windsor-Essex.

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The executive director of the local health unit, Nicole Dupuis, announced Monday that public health nurses had been actively administering third doses to residents of nursing homes and long-term care since the end of August.

“We have been working with all of our long-term care homes around the third dose, ensuring that everyone in long-term care receives their third dose,” Dupuis said.

“We have very high vaccination rates, fully immunized with two doses, in our nursing homes and long-term care, close to 95 percent.”

On August 17, the province announced that several groups considered more vulnerable could receive third shots in response to the Delta variant, which is more transmissible.

In addition to residents of high-risk congregated settings, several other populations are also eligible for booster shots. They include transplant recipients, patients with hematologic cancers under active treatment, recipients of anti-CD20 agents, and those under active treatment for solid tumors.

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Those with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, Stage 3 or untreated advanced HIV infection, and those undergoing treatment with multiple categories of immunosuppressive therapies are also eligible.

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The third dose should occur a minimum of two months after the second dose, according to the health unit website. The recommended interval for residents of high-risk congregated settings is at least five months after the second dose.

Nurses at the public health unit began vaccinating residents of nursing homes and long-term care homes in Windsor-Essex in December, making them some of the first people in the province to receive a vaccine.

Based on existing first and second dose vaccine registry records, patients classified as moderately to severely immunosuppressed will be contacted directly to schedule an appointment for their third dose.

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Those who are unsure of their eligibility should contact their healthcare provider before attempting to schedule an appointment for a third dose.

As of Monday morning, 3,395 Windsor-Essex residents had received a third dose of vaccine.

The health unit reported 30 new COVID cases on Saturday, 47 on Sunday and 40 on Monday, as well as the COVID deaths of two 70-year-old men living in the wider community.

To date, 19,590 area residents have tested positive, including 307 active cases, 453 deaths, and 18,830 cases considered resolved.

Fourteen people with COVID are hospitalized and seven of them in the ICU.

The outbreaks are active in two nursing homes and long-term care homes – Village at St. Clair in Windsor and La Chaumiere in Belle River, as well as 13 workplaces.

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The school outbreak remains active at JA McWilliam Public School, Ford City Public School, St. Anne Catholic High School, Sandwich High School, Al-Hijra Academy, Cardinal Carter Catholic High School, and High School. Catholic St. Joseph.

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Reference-windsorstar.com

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