The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) says a campaign to vaccinate 35,000 eligible kids ages five to 11 against COVID-19 could start as soon as early December.
In a briefing on Thursday, Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health for the MLHU, said the strategy to vaccinate children would be similar to that of the previous waves.
The plan includes large mass vaccination clinics open at the Western Agriplex and in Mount Brydges. Pharmacy partners are lined up to offer vaccines, and the MLHU’s mass clinics will return to an appointment-based system.
“We believe we can get through those kids in about two, maybe three weeks with all systems going strong, which they will be by December,” said Mackie.
The vaccines will be given to children in a two-dose regimen, distributed throughout two to three weeks in December, and again throughout two to three weeks in January. There will be catchup campaigns with mobile clinics for those facing accessibility barriers.
Mackie said there have been discussions with primary care providers to help with the campaign. However, many are saying it would be too complex.
There will eventually be vaccination clinics at schools, but Mackie said they wouldn’t be as efficient as mass vaccination clinics.
“We don’t want this campaign to take months. We want it to take days, weeks at the most. So that’s why the mass model is much more efficient and appropriate for right now,” he said.
More than 10,000 third doses distributed
The latest death in London is a man in his 70s who was fully vaccinated.
Mackie said the man was eligible for a third dose because of a suppressed immune system, but had not yet received that dose.
“A third dose is very important and it’s important to get that third dose now, especially as we will likely be opening third doses to much larger groups soon and then vaccinating the children as soon as well,” said Mackie.
Residents in long-term care homes have received their third doses, and retirement homes along with naturally occurring retirement communities will be done over the next few days.
So far, around 10,000 third doses have been distributed. The campaign for third doses is also targeting individuals on immunosuppression, medication, people with HIV aids or other illnesses that affect their immune system.
It has not yet been determined when third doses will be more widely available in London.