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SMDHU expects high demand for bivalent vaccine as rollout begins


With Ontario rolling out its Omicron-targeted COVID-19 vaccines, demand for the booster locally is expected to spike.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is preparing for clinics to begin this week to administer the bivalent vaccine, starting with residents considered most vulnerable.

"In Barrie, we have our clinic at Georgian Mall running three times a week, and our partners at RVH will run their clinic at the 29 Sperling Drive site," said Mary Ann Holmes, Acting Assistant Vice President of Immunization. "We are expecting a bit of a heavier demand, so both of those clinics will be by appointment only for the next couple of weeks."

The first doses of the new vaccine also arrived Monday at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH).

In a statement, OSMH said it was "working closely with its partners to plan the next steps" of its vaccine rollouts.

It comes as COVID-19 continues to linger in the region, according to the SMDHU's latest COVID-19 statistics.

There was a recent surge in wastewater signal in Barrie, with the highest viral load recorded to date, shown in the health unit's most recent statistics from Sept. 8. Wastewater signals in Bracebridge have also demonstrated a significant increasing trend.

Orillia, Barrie, Midland and Penetanguishene aren't showing any current trends, but recent spikes are reasons to monitor.

"You don't have had to receive any booster to get this bivalent booster," added Holmes. "As long as you received your first two vaccines and are at least six months out from your previous shot, you're eligible."

All residents aged 18 and older can book appointments as of Monday but won't be eligible until Sept. 26 unless deemed part of the priority groups.

The SMDHU said it would look to open walk-in clinics for the vaccine in the coming weeks. Top Stories

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