Waterloo Region vaccine clinics now accepting walk-ins
WATERLOO -- All Region of Waterloo vaccination clinics are now offering walk-in appointments for eligible residents.
The change in priority came into effect on Monday, but those looking to get their first, second or third dose can still book ahead if they prefer.
During Wednesday's Board of Health meeting, lead of the region's vaccine task force Vickie Murray said those aged 30 and older will also be able to request the Pfizer vaccine.
"While we are still routinely offering Moderna for the over 30 age population, we can now supply the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, if it is requested, for all ages," Murray said during the meeting. "We encourage everyone to take whichever vaccine is available to them and get vaccinated as soon as possible."
Since mid-December, the region has only offered the Moderna vaccine to adults aged 30 and older, due to a shortage of Pfizer and a high demand for third dose boosters. On Wednesday, Murray said the province announced an improved supply of the adult Pfizer vaccine.
LOCAL COVID-19 OUTLOOK
Dr. Wang also said Omicron indicators from local waste waterloo samples show the level of COVID-19 in the community is still high, but it is has plateaued.
“Assuming trends continue to stabilize and subsequently decrease, it'll take a number of weeks before that will translate to an easing of pressures in our hospitals and high risk settings,” added Dr. Wang.
HOSPITALS REMAIN UNDER PRESSURE
The region's medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said the pandemic continues to put stress on the local healthcare system, with 144 COVID-positive people in hospital, including 24 in an intensive care unit.
Dr. Wang said as of Tuesday, approximately 250 members of staff from the three local hospitals are at home sick or isolating due to COVID-19.
OUTBREAKS STABILIZING IN HIGH-RISK SETTINGS
Dr. Wang said the number of active outbreaks has started to stabilize in high-risk settings, such as retirement and long-term care homes, congregate settings and hospitals.
The region's medical officer of health reported 77 active outbreaks in high-risk settings, two more than reported in Wednesday's regional COVID-19 dashboard update.
Assuming trends continue to stabilize and begin to decrease, Dr. Wang stressed that it will still take a number of weeks before pressure will begin to ease in hospitals and high-risk settings.
LTC/RETIREMENT FOURTH DOSE IMMUNIZATIONS
The region reports 23 of 24 long-term care homes and 22 of 30 retirement homes have completed fourth dose immunizations of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday. Officials hope to complete all fourth dose boosters in local senior congregate settings by mid-February
The region encourages seniors to walk in to clinics and get their fourth dose, as long as it's been 84 days since their third shot.
Wednesday's dashboard update shows a total of 1,215,427 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across Waterloo Region to date, including 266,431 third doses. The region estimates approximately 61 per cent of eligible residents have received a third dose as of Tuesday.
As of Wednesday's meeting, 82.43 per cent of eligible residents aged five and older are fully vaccinated and 87.93 have one dose.
Waterloo Region reports 52.89 per cent of children between the ages of five and 11 have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Wednesday, officials confirmed 87.55 per cent of residents aged 80 and older have gotten a third dose, while 82.3 per cent of residents aged 70 and older have received their third shot.