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Niagara Region Public Health took to social media this week with the message that the vaccine mix is ââokay as it opened more clinic appointments on Friday.
Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Mustafa Hirji said people going to clinics feared they might receive a second dose different from the first. The nurses took the time to talk to these people and explain the situation.
âOverall, most people are pretty reassured when this happens,â Hirji said. “Some people choose to call their family doctor for advice, and the same message goes: it’s important to get that second dose and it doesn’t really matter what product you get.”
Hirji said a few people weren’t happy they got a different product and left, but the majority felt reassured to go ahead with the second dose.
Hirji posted a video on Facebook and Twitter on Thursday answering questions about the vaccine mix.
âWe try to do a lot of communication because we know it’s a small change. People have focused so much on the brand of vaccine they are receiving that we want to make sure people understand that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are completely interchangeable, âHirji told The Standard.
âIt’s really the same technology, almost the same vaccine in all respects. Even with the AstraZeneca vaccine, if you received a first dose, it is recommended that you take Pfizer or Moderna as a second dose, as this seems to give you better protection than two doses of AstraZeneca.
As of Friday, 65.4 percent of Niagara residents had received a first dose of the vaccine and 21.6 percent had received two. Figures include the entire population aged one day and over. Among the eligible population of people aged 12 and over, the first dose number is closer to 73 percent.
The region reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 in total on Friday, bringing the new case to 42 since Monday. There were 180 active cases, including 99 in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.
Niagara Health has had 10 COVID-19 patients in hospital.
Niagara Region Public Health began offering more new appointments on Friday. They will take place June 29-30 at the Vale Health and Wellness Center in Port Colborne, July 1-10 at the Meridian Community Center in Pelham, and July 8-13 at the Niagara Falls MacBain Community Center.
Eligible residents can book an appointment online through the provincial portal at Ontario.ca/book-vaccine or by calling 1-833-943-3900.
People who do not have an Ontario Health Card can call public health to make an appointment by dialing 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 and pressing 7. They can also fill out a form at niagararegion.ca/sante/vaccinations and follow the links.
Hirji said the new date blocks are moving fast. Even with 20,000 to 30,000 locations, they typically go out within 24 hours.
He reminded people that they need to do more than just get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19.
âYou have to keep doing a lot of other things besides vaccinations to keep COVID under control, so continue to keep your distance from others, wear masks and avoid social gatherings that you don’t need to be a part of. so that we don’t lose our way here, âhe said.
“We’re making sure we can stay ahead of the Delta variant and hopefully get to a place later in the summer where we can really relax some of these measures because we will have had so many vaccines there.”