Vaccines remain in short supply in the region, with recent guidance recommending caution with the use of the AstraZeneca shot likely to cloud the issue.
As of the May 7 weekly pandemic briefing, a small shipment of that vaccine was expected, but uncertainties abound.
“We do anticipate a shipment of for the duration of the week of May 10 but have no line of sight beyond this shipment. We are exhausting the current allocation of AstraZeneca with no confirmation on further allocation timelines,” said Shirley Hilton, who heads the region’s vaccine distribution task force.
“Pfizer supply is steady until the end of May where we then see a significant increase, and as a result of the Pfizer stability, we will look to shift a couple of our Moderna clinics to Pfizer.
Although supply is uncertain, more groups of people are eligible to sign up for pre-registration. As of Tuesday, all residents 12 years of age or older can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Waterloo Region. Pre-registration is expanding locally as the province announces a stable and reliable vaccine supply – Canada was slated for at least two million doses weekly of the Pfizer vaccine.
Health Canada recently approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 12-15 years of age. Individuals who are 12-17 years old will receive the Pfizer vaccine when it is their turn to get an appointment. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is approved for anyone 18 year of age and older. COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended for anyone younger than 12 years of age at this time.
“People will be invited to book an appointment based on priority and not necessarily when they’ve pre-registered. Anyone who has already pre-registered and is waiting for a booking invitation. You will be contacted within four to six weeks as the vaccine becomes available,” said Hilton.
“We are pleased to see the province expanded pre-registration due to an expected increase in vaccine supply. And we continue to prioritize areas in Waterloo Region that have been the hardest hit by COVID-19,” said regional Chair Karen Redman.
“As the vaccine rollout continues, it’s still important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
As supplies increase, the region is encouraging people to sign up, working to combat any hesitancy, said medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang .
“Regarding COVID vaccines, all COVID-19 vaccines available in Ontario have been determined to be safe and effective by Health Canada. For the vast majority of the population, the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the risk of getting COVID-19. in Waterloo Region, our rates remain high. We’ve been in the red zone or shut down zones since November 2020. The best vaccine is the first vaccine you are offered.”
The region has now administered 230,000 doses, with about 44 per cent of adults having received at least one dose of vaccine. Just 3.4 per cent of those over the age of 18 have been fully vaccinated.