Niagara public health expects all residents 75-plus to be vaccinated by mid-April

A health care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

With close to 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines doses having been shipped to Niagara so far, and another 20,000 arriving in the next two weeks, the region’s acting medical officer of health is hoping everyone 75-plus will have received at least one shot by mid-April.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji says 59 per cent of Niagara’s 80-plus population have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as of Monday, and another 41 per cent of that population are booked to receive their first shot with public health or a Niagara Health hospital.

“We’re moving quickly through this group,” Hirji said. “We’ve got the people who most need to be vaccinated into the queue.”

Read more: Ontario reports more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases, 9 deaths

So far, seven per cent of Niagara’s population aged 75 to 79 years have received a shot as public health begins executing Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout.

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Almost 27 per cent in that age range have booked a vaccination, and 66 per cent have yet to register.

During a briefing on Tuesday, the province revealed that over 57,000 in Niagara have received a shot, with 8,100 of those having been fully vaccinated.

About 2,700 long-term care (LTC) residents and 1,500 LTC staff have been fully vaccinated. Over 300,000 Ontarians have now been vaccinated.

Ontario is expected to ship close to 16,000 Pfizer and 5,000 Moderna doses to Niagara by the end of March, and another 25,000 Pfizer doses between April 1 and April 12.

Hirji believes that volume and bookings through the province’s new website could equate to having almost all people 75-plus receiving vaccinations by mid-April.

Read more: Health Canada adding AstraZeneca blood clot warning, but says vaccine is safe

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“We’re hoping that by the end of the second week of April, we could largely have both 80-plus, and the 75 to 79 age group, almost all vaccinated,” said Hirji.

“We have enough appointments to pretty much accommodate all of the people in those two age groups right now.”

Niagara reports 42 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, 30 more variant cases

Niagara public health reported 42 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, and discovered another 30 variant cases.

The region now has 230 total variant cases as of March 22.

Six have been identified as the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the U.K.

Niagara’s active cases went up slightly day over day to 349, with St. Catharines and Niagara Falls having the most at 77 and 72 cases, respectively.

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Read more: 3 Hamilton public health nurses disciplined for improper vaccine distibution

Public health says there are 19 active outbreaks, including two health facilities, a retirement home and a long-term care home.

The region’s medical officer says the two current outbreaks, at Albright Manor in Lincoln and Portal Village in Port Colborne involve less than five cases each.



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