By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express
The Region of Durham has been declared a COVID-19 Delta variant hot spot.
As Durham is one of 10 health units that are considered hot spots, Durham residents will be able to get an accelerated second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The 10 Delta hot spots, according to the province, include Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Peel, Porcupine, Simcoe-Muskoka, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, and York Public Health units.
Durham residents aged 18 and older who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 30, 2021 will be able to book their second appointment beginning Monday, June 21.
Starting the week of June 28, all Ontario residents aged 18 and over who have received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine will be eligible to book their second dose appointment. The appointment will be booked at least 28 days after the first dose, per the recommended interval.
Further, effective June 14, 2021, those who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are eligible to receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at an interval of eight to 12 weeks, with informed consent. This can include a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine.
According to Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, more than 75 per cent of Ontario adults have received their first dose, and more than 19 per cent – over two million – Ontarians are fully vaccinated.
“We have made tremendous progress, and we are continuing to build on that success,” says Elliott.
With more than three million doses of the Moderna vaccine arriving in June, Elliott says Ontario is continuing to accelerate the vaccine rollout by expanding eligibility for second doses ahead of schedule.
“COVID-19 vaccines work, and are our best defense against the virus and variants, including the Delta variant,” Elliott continues.
“They are safe and effective, they will help end the pandemic, and the best vaccine for your second dose, is the vaccine that is available first.”
The minister says COVID-19 variants are still a concern, and it’s “critical” that everyone sign up to receive their second dose sooner, when their turn comes.
“Together, we can stop the spread of the virus.”
Durham has administered 540,601 doses as of June 17, according to the Durham Region Data Tracker.
There are 452,346 Durham residents (61.3 per cent or 71.6 per cent of those aged 18+) who have received at least one dose, and 113,450 people (15.4 per cent or 19.2 per cent of those 18+) who are fully vaccinated.
Durham reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, and one new death.
There are a total of 131 active cases of COVID-19 across the region, 80 of which are variants of concern. Of the total cases, 117 are in home isolation, and 14 are in hospital with five in the ICU.
Second dose appointments can be booked online at www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment or by calling 1-888-444-5113.