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COVID-19: Approximately 1,200 youths receive first dose of vaccine in HKPR Health Unit

As of Monday, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit reported 1,194 youths aged 12 to 17 have received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Just last week, the health unit had more than 4,300 open appointments for youth-specific clinics the weeks of June 14 and 21 at its mass immunization sites in Northumberland, Haliburton and City of Kawartha Lakes.

Read more: COVID-19 — HKPR Health Unit to hold youth-specific vaccination clinics in June

But medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking told reporters on her weekly virtual media update that so far uptake at these youth clinics hasn’t been as high as hoped.

“I don’t think that this is because people are not interested. If anything, we know that youth are already participating in vaccinations. If we look at coverage for first doses of 12 to 17 years we’re already at 20 per cent of that population having received their first dose,” she said.

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“Anyone 12 and over can book in at any clinic, including pharmacies and primary care.”

Bocking also used the opportunity to remind youth and families that they can book appointments through all of those avenues.

“I encourage youth and families to pursue this and how they can support youth in being vaccinated.”

If youth get their first doses now, they’d be eligible to get their second shots before the end of summer, which would make them fully vaccinated for the start of the school year, currently slated for Sept. 7.

“The ultimate goal (is) to see everyone back at school in the fall being able to participate in the activities they enjoyed before the pandemic, such as organized sports,” she said.

Bocking noted that primary health-care providers within the health unit’s jurisdiction will soon offer family clinics where youths and their parents or guardians can be vaccinated together.

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