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Vaccinations helping the district get ‘One Step Closer’ to normal

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Youth COVID-19 vaccination clinics are being set up by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.  

Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy, says the schedule should be ready soon for parents to book appointments.  

“We are in the process, in collaboration with our school boards and some of our other community partners, of planning dedicated youth clinics that only 12 to 17-year-olds will attend, the weeks of June 14th and June 21st, across our district,” she says.

Youth ages 12-17 can get vaccinated at the regular clinics too, but parents are encouraged to call ahead to ensure the Pfizer vaccine is being administered at the clinic.  

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The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only shot approved for that age group by Health Canada. 

Meantime, it’s been a week since the Health Unit launched the standby list system for vaccinations. 

“That standby list is working very, very well.  People submit their names onto the list on a daily basis wherever clinics are being held and at the end of the clinics they are called if there are additional doses available,” says McLellan.  “It has the benefit of getting a few extra people in for an immunization and it has the benefit of us not wasting any vaccine at all.”

The Health Unit is hoping for 70 to 80 percent of the population to be immunized but also says it is an individual decision.  

Dr. Carol Zimbalatti, Public Health Physician, says a familiar health care provider may help with that decision.

“Some people need a familiar health care provider to really reassure them that the vaccine is right for them,” she said. “So we are gradually onboarding more and more primary care offices to be able to facilitate the process.”

Last week the province announced their Roadmap to Reopen.

While the province slowly reopens, the Health Unit reminds the public that we all need to continue to follow public health measures to keep case numbers low in order to continue on a path to reopening.

“We are seeing a glimmer of hope with a concrete plan to reopen the province, but our district has had the highest numbers of cases locally in May compared to any other month since the beginning of this pandemic,” says Dr. Zimbalatti. “To return to summer activities and make this our last shutdown, it is crucial for everyone to continue following public health measures and to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you are eligible.”

The Health Unit is also going to be launching the ‘One Step Closer Campaign’ on their social media and YouTube channels. 

McLellan says it will involve everyday people sharing their stories about getting the vaccine and bringing them one step closer to getting back to normal. 

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