After expecting to get an update on COVID-19 vaccine supply for KFL&A late last week, Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health, was more than pleased to announce over 30,000 doses are expected through the month of May.
“I can say that KFL&A will receive additional doses of Pfizer,” Moore said, noting that the supply of the Pfizer vaccine is “quite stable” across the province moving forward, and is predicted to remain that way through to June.
The Pfizer vaccines will be distributed through KFL&A Public Health’s partners, such as Kingston Community Health Center, Kingston Health Sciences Center, the mass immunization clinics at the Invista Centre and the Strathcona Paper Center, and through some other primary care partners. Moore noted that, with supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine dwindling across the province, so, too, are the vaccination appointments through local pharmacies, which have been administering strictly the AstraZeneca vaccine up to this point. He said that the vaccine supply to pharmacies does not go through Public Health units, but that the pharmacies work directly with the province and/or the pharmaceutical companies to acquire supply. While it is possible other brands of the vaccine will become available through pharmacies, Moore indicated he’s not heard any plans to that effect as of yet.
However, Moore smiled broadly as he explained the number of Pfizer vaccine doses scheduled to arrive in KFL&A through the month of May.
“It’s about what I expected,” Moore said of the supply. “I mean, I’ll always take more! But this is good news for our community.”
Moore explained that the baseline of vaccine supply for the region has been around 4,800 doses, but the newly-announced supply will build on that baseline as follows:
- For the week beginning on Monday, May 3, the region will receive 5,850 doses
- For the week beginning on Monday, May 10, the region will receive 5,850 doses
- For the week beginning on Monday, May 17, it is anticipated that the number of doses supplied to the region will increase to 9,860 doses
- For the week beginning Monday, May 24,it is anticipated that the region will receive 9,360 doses
“So as the number of doses increases, it’s anticipated that we’ll be able to broaden the number of people that are eligible to receive the vaccine,” Moore said. “And we’ll be working with all of our partners to provide the vaccine to make sure it’s accessible and available.”
The criteria for eligibility for the vaccine remains the same: Those aged 60 and over are able to register for an appointment at either mass immunization clinic in the region, and those aged 40 and over are able to book appointments through pharmacies. Moore said that, as early as next week, those numbers could each drop by five years to allow more people access to the vaccine.
Moore explained it is unknown if and when more of the AstraZeneca and/or Johnson and Johnson products will be supplied to the region, but that he does expect to see supply of the Moderna product in the near future – only it will be “a smaller shipment” than the region had been receiving.
Reiterating that vaccines need to get to hotspots across the province, and that the KFL&A region has received a lot more doses of the vaccines due to its participation in the vaccinations at pharmacies pilot program, Moore said it is fair that the region sees a decline in supply. Having said that, he said he was very happy to hear about the increased supply of the Pfizer vaccine to allow the region to continue on its path towards “protection for the community.”
“If you add that all up, it’s over 28,000 doses for us to put in arms for May and immunize another 10 to 15 per cent of our community,” he said. “And as we build first doses over 50, 60, 70 per cent [of our population], that’s just another layer of protection for our community as we try to get back to normal through immunization.”
Total vaccination in KFL&A thus far
Moore beamed as he delivered some “very good news” in terms of vaccination numbers for the KFL&A region to date.
“For the first time, we’ve accomplished that 40 per cent of our adult community has received their first dose of vaccine. That’s quite an accomplishment!” he said. “And we’ve hence protected many of the most vulnerable in our community through this immunization strategies just in the last several months.”
Moore relayed that 97 per cent of those over 80 have received a vaccine, as is the case for:
- 91 per cent of those between 75 and 79
- 77 per cent of those between 70 and 75
- 65 per cent of those between 65 and 70
- 74 per cent of those between 60 and 65
“So over 89,000 doses have been administered within our region. I’m very proud of the partnership with our pharmacists, our primary care physicians, our hospital, as well as our health agency to have delivered that in such a short timeframe,” Moore said. “And we’re certainly able to immunize 5,000 people a day if necessary, if we get the adequate supplies, to protect our community.”
Region remains at Orange level community status
While all of Ontario remains in the Grey level of community status during the current “Emergency Brake” and stay-at-home-orders, Moore explained that the KFL&A region would be in the Orange level otherwise.
As of Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021, seven new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, and there are 83 known active cases in the region.
“We still have three people in their 50s in the hospital, two are in ICU and one, sadly, is required to be on a ventilator,” Moore explained.
He then thanked the community for continuing to come forward and be tested when symptoms arise, which has kept the KFL&A region with one of the highest testing rates in the province. He then called out some of the more unsung heroes during this pandemic.
“Thank all those working in our assessment centers and in our laboratory system, we’re getting results back typically within 24 hours, and are able to act on them very quickly,” he said.
Moore also explained that he believes the current outbreak at Queen’s University has plateaued, and that he’s hoping to see the number of new cases in the region go back down in the near future.
Nonetheless, the rate of illness in the region is “still a little high for my liking,” Moore said of the current 29.6 cases per 100,000 people.
“So the risk remains high. And if you’ve seen a map of our area, we have individuals with illness in many of the small hamlets of KFL&A, as well as our cities and towns. So from Selby to Enterprise to Sharbot Lake to Cloyne to Sydenham to Napanee and to Kingston – we’ve got cases throughout the community, in all age groups, and so the risk remains high in our community,” Moore said before emphasizing those same words he’s uttered since the beginning of the pandemic along with “practice good hand hygiene” and “maintain physical distancing.”
“Certainly, it’s 10 times higher if you travel outside of our region. So please, limit your travel. Stay within your household and we’ll be able to, at least, not let the virus take any further hold into our community.”