Long-term care homes in the district are in the process of providing third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to their residents while the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is running clinics in some other homes to help vaccinate those residents.
Waters Edge Care Community and Cassellholme are among the homes whose residents have already received their third doses.
"The province recommends an interval between the second and third dose [of the COVID-19 vaccine] of at least eight weeks," says Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy at the Health Unit.
See related: Health Unit offering third COVID-19 shots
The timing of the third dose is of important, especially when it comes to long-term care residents who, in addition to the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, are due to roll up their sleeves for annual flu shots this fall.
At the present time, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends a 28-day interval between administering a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine such as the flu shot.
Following a mild flu season last year aided by widespread physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and a public mask mandate, the Health Unit says the severity of this year’s flu season will depend on several factors, including the uptake of the flu vaccine, which flu strains are circulating, which public health measures remain in place.
In August, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health announced the province would begin offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to those at highest-risk, including residents of long-term care homes.
Immunocompromised individuals should contact their health care provider to confirm eligibility and receive a referral form for a third dose that can be received at any Health Unit clinic.
For the full third dose eligibility list, click here.
As far as the balance of the population, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jim Chirico says "the evidence isn't there to suggest they need the third dose. That may follow but it will be based on recommendations from the Science Table and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization as to whether or not third doses are necessary."