DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) is preparing for the moment a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for kids aged five to 11 years old.
“We are anticipating the provincial government, as well as the federal government, [will] make announcements regarding approval of vaccination for five to 11 year-olds or approval of expanding eligibility for third doses of vaccine. In anticipation of that, we are moving back towards our fixed site mass immunization clinics,” local medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking told reporters, on Wednesday, October 27th.
“These clinics will be able to see a larger number of people go through them than the mobile clinic locations. We don’t know yet when these announcements will come, but we do want to be prepared.”
Pfizer has applied to Health Canada for approval of the use of their vaccine on this age group.
The local medical officer explained this strategy will look similar to the earlier days of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
“I know we will have one fixed clinic site location in Haliburton County. There will be a clinic option in Fenelon Falls, a clinic option in Lindsay, a clinic option in Cobourg and then also one in East Northumberland.
Those clinics will primarily be operating during the week. We also will continue to host clinics at area high schools, likely more so on weekends, open to certainly not just staff and students but to the broader community [as well].”
However, Dr. Bocking noted their list of available venues is limited at this time.
“Venues [which] were previously available, a number of them hockey arenas, are now being used for other things. Primarily [they are being used for] playing hockey or other ice sports. So we are having to look at other opportunities,” she said.
Dr. Bocking also talked about what the health unit’s recent vaccine strategy has been.
“The last couple of months, we have focused on a mobile, targeted strategy, in order to reach those areas of HKPR [which] are either more rural, or neighbourhoods [which] have experienced some barriers in accessing vaccine. The focus has been on taking vaccine out to people, and identifying those areas [which] might have lower vaccination coverage.”reas [which] might have lower vaccination coverage.”