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HKPR provides promising COVID-19 vaccine update

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Discussion regarding the current COVID-19 vaccine situation dominated the most recent update from Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR).

“We know roll-out has continued. There have been some challenges relating to vaccine supply, but when we look at the numbers, I think our progress of [the] roll-out has been quite good and certainly meets the provincial average right now, if not actually doing a bit better [than the average],” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Natalie Bocking said, during a virtual press conference, on Wednesday, April 28th.

Dr. Bocking had some good news regarding the vaccine supply in Ontario.

“The amount of Pfizer [vaccines] coming into the province is increasing quite significantly over the month of May. As a result of that, we will be receiving additional vaccine[s] for our jurisdiction, which I think is what we’ve been waiting to hear.”

Dr. Bocking was asked for an update on plans for the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

“What I know is, the province will receive some of the [Johnson and Johnson] supply [which] is supposed to be coming in to Canada. The province has not finalized how it is going to allocate it across health units in the province. As you know, that vaccine is a one-dose vaccine, and in particular will be very successful for certain groups [which] are hard to reach and vulnerable groups who may not be able to get those second doses of the other vaccines. The province is looking at how they best want to use that vaccine, within the amount they will be receiving,” she explained.

The local medical officer commented on the current push by some groups to have the province reopen golf courses.

“I appreciate the frustration of the golfers. In the end, right now, we’re still under a Stay at Home order, and under that order was the closure of outdoor amenities. Really, the [reason] was, those amenities have the potential to facilitate social gatherings. Even though [in] golf, as a sport, it is easier to keep your distance than [in] some other sports. My understanding of some of that rationale really was [golf courses have] the potential to encourage social gatherings,” Dr. Bocking said.

The health unit continues to see similar demographics in COVID-19 case numbers.

“We are still seeing the highest proportion of cases in the age group [which] is under 20 years-old,” Dr. Bocking explained. She added, the “vast majority [of active cases are linked to] community spread.”

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