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SMDHU’s Dr. Gardner updates region’s vaccine rollout

As of Tuesday, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has administered 89,600 COVID-19 vaccines, up 19,000 doses from last week. 

The region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said Tuesday afternoon this includes 18,048 residents who got both doses and are now fully immunized. 

Dr. Gardner said the health unit has also distributed around 4,400 AstraZeneca shots through Primary Care Family Health teams.

He said to date, almost all people who are 75 years of age and older in Simcoe Muskoka have either received their first shot or are booked for it. 

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In long-term care homes, SMDHU has given first doses to 95 percent of the residents, 76 percent of staff and 95 percent of essential Caregivers. 

In retirement homes, 97 percent of residents received at least one vaccine along with 88 percent of staff and 87 percent of essential caregivers. 

First doses have also been provided to 67 percent of hospital staff, 63 percent of other healthcare workers and over 90 percent of residents living in congregate settings.

As of Monday this week the province indicated that individuals living in Simcoe Muskoka born previous to 1951 would be eligible to book a vaccine appointment. 

For the past week, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has already been pre-registering those 70 years of age and above. 

Dr. Gardner said the health unit is very happy to be able to move this fast onto this age group and looks forward to being able to move to 65 and above sometime in the near future. 

The region’s 13 clinics will be operating on different days to ensure at least one is available all days, running through the Easter weekend as well.

Today, Dr. Gardner said six clinics are operating in Barrie, Bracebridge, Midland, Wasaga Beach, Alliston and Orillia. 

SMDHU is also starting immunizations for individuals who are homebound throughout the district.  

Dr. Gardner said this was a challenge before because of the lack of an easily movable vaccine, but now the health unit has the authorization to provide Moderna doses in at-home visits.

The health unit is working with Paramedic services in Simcoe and Muskoka, with Home and Community Care Services and with the Barrie Family Health Team in order to be able to reach people who cannot leave their homes in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with a focus on those in the eligible age/special condition criteria. 

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