Covid vaccine benefits outweigh inflammation risks for teens: NWHU

By Natali Trivuncic
Staff Writer

Recent concerns have cropped up for teens and young adult males after reports of potential inflammation of the lining around the heart following a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

According to the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) press release, most cases worldwide have occurred within several days after vaccination after receiving the second dose of the vaccine. In Canada, side effects after the vaccine continue to be monitored and rates of heart inflammation are not higher than would be expected in the general population.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU, said most of the cases have been mild and responded well to treatment and symptoms have improved quickly.

“All immunizations at our clinic will share the information on this and all possible side effects. National and provincial guidelines have not changed, and the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be recommended for all eligible individuals including youth and young adults,” Young Hoon said.

Young Hoon adds that the benefits of the mRNA vaccine continue to outweigh their risks in the authorized populations as there are clear benefits of mRNA vaccines at reducing COVID-19 infections.

Of those aged 18 and older, 73 per cent of people in the NWHU area have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Young Hoon said the NWHU region leads the way provincially with 46.7 per cent of people aged 18 years and older having two doses of the vaccine.

Young Hoon said their mass immunization clinics will be winding down over the upcoming weeks as 90 per cent of their clinics have been filled with people getting their second doses.

“We will be hosting youth second dose clinics in the summer and we’ll be focusing on pop-up clinics throughout the summer,” Young Hoon said. “Anyone who wants their COVID-19 vaccine after our clinics are finished can contact our office, their health care provider or participating pharmacies to get their vaccination.”

Young Hoon said there has been no clear information from the province surrounding vaccine cards but that they have outlined a process for people who have been vaccinated outside of Ontario.

“If an individual has been vaccinated outside of Ontario, then we’re expected to review that information, the documentation they have, make sure that information is reasonable and accurate, and then upload that information into the provincial database,” Young Hoon said.

There are currently six active cases, one in the Dryden/Red Lake region, three in the Kenora region, one in the Rainy River region and one in the Sioux Lookout region.

One active case in the Kenora region is currently outside of the NWHU.

During the week of June 14 to June 20, the region had seven new confirmed cases and one new hospitalization occurred. There are currently two people in the region hospitalized with COVID-19. Of the seven new cases four were close contacts of new cases and one was linked to travel. The source of exposure remains unknown for two of these new cases.

With more people fully vaccinated, there have been questions about provincial guidelines changing. Young Hoon said one big policy change is that if someone is fully vaccinated and it has been 14 days since their second dose, even if someone in their household is awaiting test results for COVID-19. The person who is asymptomatic does not need to self-isolate while waiting for that person to get their test results.

Young Hoons said that otherwise they have not been informed of any other significant policy changes with respect to whether someone is vaccinated or not.

Young Hoon adds that policy changes in regard to such things as masking requirements, gathering numbers and business capacity are dependent on case numbers and vaccination rates.