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Southwestern Public Health accelerates second doses

Southwestern Public Health is now inviting adults aged 18-and-older to rebook an earlier second dose if they had their first mRNA dose (Pfizer or Moderna) on or before May 30.

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“As a reflection of regional vaccine supply and our desire to get people vaccinated quickly, we’re opening eligibility for earlier second doses to more people in tandem with our partners at Middlesex-London,” said medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock.

Distroscale

“This also allows primary care and pharmacies to maximize their vaccine supply and helps us fill any cancelled appointments with people waiting for a second dose. Our goal is to ensure vaccine is in arms, not in freezers.”

Southwestern Public Health has limited availability over the next couple of weeks, but appointments do become available periodically throughout the week.

Individuals who had a first dose of mRNA vaccine must wait a minimum of 28 days between first and second dose. Those who had a first dose of AstraZeneca must wait a minimum of eight weeks before accepting any other COVID-19 vaccine type.

To reschedule an earlier second dose appointment, visit www.covidvaccinelm.ca or call 1-800-922-0096 ext. 9. You can also sign up for the Southwestern Public Health Same Day List.

Additional options to reschedule may include pharmacy or primary care providers at their discretion.

Visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations to find a list of local pharmacies and contact them to determine if they offer accelerated doses.

Those younger than 18 years of age are not eligible for an earlier second dose at this time.

Meanwhile, Southwestern Public Health reported 11 new COVID-19 cases in the Oxford-Elgin region Monday.

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There were 24 confirmed ongoing cases in the region, including two in Tillsonburg. Three weeks ago, COVID numbers dipped below 20, but two weeks ago climbed just past 30.

That rise, said Lock, was due in part because of the very contagious delta variant.

“We now have five laboratory confirmed cases within our region,” she said June 23. “The delta variant has a 60 per cent higher risk of household transmission.

“We’ve also seen multiple instances across Ontario of the delta variants spreading in shelters for people experiencing homelessness or rooming house type settings, as well as in private homes.”

If you have questions or concerns or need information, call the COVID-19 response centre or visit their website for resources.

As of June 23, 130,000 residents in the region have had at least one dose of the vaccine, which is 61.5 per cent of the total population.

Southwestern Public Health (75 per cent) is slightly behind the provincial rate for adult vaccinations, on whom 76.5 per cent have received at least one dose.

“We’re almost right on par with the province, but just a little behind.”

The capacity at the Mass Immunization Clinics has increased each week. Last week, more than 2,700 people were vaccinated per day.

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