The NWHU is continuing to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 vaccinations as we head into another wave this fall.   

The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) held its last media conference of the summer on June 21, and during that time, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health for the NWHU, took the opportunity to once again, encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.  

“We have vaccine clinics, they are still ongoing, through our offices as well as some pharmacies and primary clinics,” said Dr. Young Hoon.  

“All individuals aged 12 and older are eligible for the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and for individuals who are 60 and older, immunocompromised individuals, or who are indigenous, they are eligible for a fourth dose.” 

Dr. Young Hoon said that as we continue later through summer and into the fall, there may be increased eligibility for more populations to get their fourth dose of the vaccine. She went on to say the government is continuing to study vaccines for those 5 and under, and that those too may be approved in the coming months.  

“For us, we are prepping for an increase in clinics for the fall, not just for COVID-19 but also for influenza. We are expecting that there may be an increased demand for both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines come the fall.”  

Through the darkest times of the COVID-19 pandemic, a hold was put on some of the regular vaccinations school-age children receive. Dr. Young Hoon said they are doing their best to get caught up, “There were quite a few school [vaccination] clinics over the past few months, to try and do some catch-up, particularly for the grade 11’s and 12’s who were leaving/close to leaving the school system.” 

“We will plan more school clinics in the fall when students return, focusing on the high school grades to ensure that anyone who got missed has an opportunity to get vaccinated. There will also be ongoing clinics through the summer as staff allows.”  

The NWHU published their 2021 Annual Report on July 4. In the report, it was shared that over 164,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given regionally. According to their report, In December 2021, the NWHU region had the highest first dose coverage rate in Ontario, and the third-highest second dose rate when compared to other health units. 

Marilyn Herbacz, CEO at NWHU shared nothing but praise for the staff, volunteers, and partners. In a statement, she said “When reflecting on 2021, I am overcome with emotion and pride. It was another challenging year full of unknowns and overwhelming workloads, however, it was also a year of hope, teamwork, and resilience.” 

As of June 25, there were 9,757 reported active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario has seen 1,323,321 reported active cases, 49,657 hospitalized cases, and 13,407 deaths due to COVID-19.  

Finally, the NWHU encouraged everyone to get caught up on their vaccinations as we head into the fall influenza season and as we prepare to see the effects of another wave of COVID-19.  

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