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More than 60 per cent of eligible Sarnia-Lambton youth fully vaccinated: health unit

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The Sarnia-area health unit marked another COVID-19 vaccine milestone Friday.

Sixty per cent of Sarnia-Lambton youths between the ages of 12 and 17 have received two doses and were considered fully vaccinated, Lambton public health said in a tweet. The health unit’s website says just under 10 per cent of youths were fully vaccinated and about 20 per cent have been given a single dose, but those figures include children under age 12 who are not eligible to get the vaccine based on Health Canada criteria, a health unit spokesperson explained.

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Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, said he’s been hearing children under the age cut-off could potentially be federally approved for the jab later this fall, but the timeline is still uncertain.

Ranade said overall health officials want to get as many residents immunized as possible to reduce the risk of outbreaks and significant spread. But he noted not having young children vaccinated shouldn’t be a barrier to schools returning to in-person learning as they typically don’t spread the virus at the same rate or experience severe symptoms.

“Most of the time if they get it they – it’s a little bit like a cold, or they might not even know,” he said.

The London-area health unit recently reminded parents Saturday is the deadline for students between the ages of 12 and 17 who want to be fully immunized by the start of the school year to get their first shots based on a six-week timeline.

The Sarnia-area health unit is also hoping to up the numbers in that age range as it runs a first-dose walk-in clinic this weekend featuring giveaways, snacks and activities. The event runs Saturday at the Dow Centre for Youth. The focus will also shift to mobile clinics, stand-by lists, doctors’ offices and pharmacies as local large-scale sites close in the coming weeks.

More than 152,500 doses have been given to Sarnia-Lambton residents as of this week.

Those wanting the jab can book appointments through the health unit’s registration page bit.ly/3xzvuBQ. People with questions can call the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the local caseload held steady Friday. Of the 3,633 cases since the pandemic began, 3,562 are considered resolved while four were still active. A total of 675 have screened positive for a variant of concern, with 39 linked to Delta. The death toll was still 67 and there were no active outbreaks.

All those figures were unchanged from Thursday.

Bluewater Health reported it doesn’t have any COVID patients in hospital.

tbridge@postmedia.com

@ObserverTerry

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