With the possibility of COVID-19 cases increasing in the fall, the Gray Bruce Health Unit will be holding vaccine clinics in the summer to help residents stay on top of their injections.
Thousands of Grey-Bruce residents age 60 and older are eligible for a second booster in July and August, based on recommended intervals between doses, the Gray Bruce Health Unit said in a recent press release. The recommended interval for people over 60 to receive a second booster (fourth dose) is five months (140 days) after their first booster. The minimum time to get a second booster is three months (84 days) after a first booster.
Full information on vaccine recommendations is available at covid-19.ontario.ca/getting-covid-19-vaccine.
The local clinics will be held in several communities in the area during the summer months, with clinics so far scheduled for the coming weeks in Thornbury on July 12, Lucknow on July 13, Walkerton and Keady on July 19, Mildmay on July 20, Owen Sound on July 21, Teeswater on July 22, Durham on July 26 and Teeswater on July 27. Details of the clinic can be viewed on the health unit’s website at publichealthgreybruce.on.ca, with updates as more clinics are added.
“Public Health strongly recommends that all eligible residents stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines to ensure they have the best available protection against major illness and death and to monitor the progress made in combating the virus.” COVID-19,” the unit’s health consultant, Dr. Rim Zayed, said in the press release. “Summer is the ideal time to stay tuned, as early indications and data suggest another wave of cases may be possible in the fall.”
The health unit is working with GO-VAXX to provide reduced vaccination coverage to a number of clinics in the Grey-Bruce areas during the summer and fall months. Vaccines, including boosters, are also available at many local pharmacies and through primary care providers, the release said.
For those ages 12 to 59, being up to date means receiving a primary vaccine series and booster dose. A second booster is recommended for individuals 60 years of age and older, Indigenous adults and their non-Indigenous adult household members, and residents of long-term care facilities and congregated care facilities.
In Grey-Bruce, just under 75 percent of the region’s population is vaccinated with two doses, while more than 50 percent of the population has received a third dose, which is nearly the middle of the pack in Ontario.
Getting and staying up to date with vaccines is the best defense against infection and serious effects of the virus, the release said. Data from the Ontario Science Table dashboard shows that those who have not been vaccinated are estimated to be nearly twice as likely to test positive for the virus, more than five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and four times as likely to be admitted to the IC.
Booster shots may help increase antibody levels that decrease after the second dose, the health unit said.
While a primary run of an mRNA vaccine generally maintains good effectiveness against severe outcomes, a booster further increases vaccine effectiveness to more than 90 percent against severe outcomes, the release added.