To combat growing concerns about the possibility of leftover vaccinations going to waste, the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) has launched a formal new process to ensure every vaccine is used up.
Linked off of the NWHU’s booking webpage, they now have a standby survey and webpage to explain who is eligible and how to sign up for the service.
Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU, said people who sign up for the stand-by list must have registered for the vaccine either through their provincial booking system or the NWHU online registration survey.
Other criteria includes that you have not yet received the first dose of the vaccine, you have said that you want to be called on short notice if vaccine is available, and you can make it to a local vaccine clinic within 30 minutes of a phone call, Young Hoon said.
The standby list includes people who are currently eligible to be vaccinated as well as people in future priority groups.
“When the health unit calls people to see if they can come to a clinic on short notice for a vaccine, we start by calling people on the current priority group first,” Young Hoon said.
Young Hoon said there are currently Moderna vaccination delays, adding that they were expected to receive a shipment on April 19 but are now expecting it around April 29 or April 30.
“Once that vaccine shipment arrives, it’ll be pushed out in the following two weeks,” Young Hoon said.
There are currently 56 active cases in the region, seven in the Dryden health hub, eight in the Emo health hub, eight in the Kenora health hub and 33 in the Sioux Lookout health hub.
Fourteen new cases were reported in the region yesterday with six in the Emo health hub and eight in the Sioux Lookout health hub.
Young Hoon said a lot of the cases are contacts of previous cases and couple that are travel related. The virus has mainly been spread in social groups or households that get together, Young Hoon adds.
“There’s an increased risk in the Sioux Lookout health hub with cases affecting many communities,” Young Hoon said. This increase risk also applies to the municipalities in Sioux Lookout where there are currently 11 active cases.”
Young Hoon said there is also evidence of increased risk in the Emo area with cases in Emo linked to multiple facilities and organizations.
The NWHU declared an outbreak at Calvary Baptist Church yesterday and are investigating a case at New Gold Mine.
“Anyone in Emo should be strictly following the stay-at-home order and should not leave their home unless for essential reasons,” Young Hoon. “Anyone who gets even one symptom of COVID-19 should self-isolate immediately and get tested.”
Variants of concern have cropped up in the Dryden area, Kenora area, Sioux Lookout area and the Fort Frances area.
Young Hoon said for the most part, many of them appear to be related to travel but there have been a number of cases where it is not linked to travel.
“In general, the risk is there for variants of concern across our catchment area but particularly in those health hubs,” Young Hoon said.
With variants of concern and case numbers still high, Young Hoon said it is very important now especially that the province is under a stay-at-home order, that people should follow public health measures.
“These types of restrictions work best when everybody follows it. Right now, we’re in a period of time where it is in all of our collective best interests to follow those restrictions and those orders,” Young Hoon said. “It would be very frustrating if in some areas they follow restrictions and in others they don’t because then there’ll just be pockets of areas where the virus continues to spread and therefore that makes the benefits of the lockdown less useful.”