New COVID vaccine expected in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph in next few weeks

GUELPH – The new COVID-19 “bivalent” vaccine is expected to arrive in the region in the coming weeks.

On Sept. 8 provincial health minister Sylvia Jones announced the first shipment of the vaccine, which targets Omicron, had arrived in the province.

And when it gets to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH), officials here will be ready, said the local medical officer of health at the Sept. 7 board of health meeting.

When it comes, “we will receive 12,000 doses in the first two weeks,” Dr. Nicola Mercer said in her verbal report to the board.

“They will go to the most at risk. We will target long-term care and congregate settings.

“Within a few weeks we will get a larger amount of the vaccine,” Mercer continued. “It will be available to everyone aged 18 and up.”

The new vaccine contains the original COVID-19 vaccine plus one targeted to the Omicron strain, subvariants of which are circulating now.

Mercer said the province has done some COVID-19 modelling in an effort to predict what might lie ahead.

“It will be challenging if we don’t do anything,” she said. “We know (the vaccine) will make a difference this fall.”

On the new Moderna vaccine for children aged six months to four years old, “the uptick has not been as great as I’d like to see,” she said.

“A small number of parents are stepping forward.”

Mercer said the vaccine is recommended particularly for children in daycare. It will help ensure daycare centres can remain open through the fall and winter.

The child vaccine is done in doctors’ offices and at a few pharmacies in the region.

Public health also administers the vaccine to children in some cases.

Mercer said if your family doctor doesn’t have the vaccine, they should be able to refer to a place that does, “and not leave patients in the lurch.”

She also reminded people to get the flu vaccine, which should be available in the next few weeks as well.

“If we all step up and get our boosters, we will have a much nicer fall and holiday season,” Mercer said.