AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for patients of the Haliburton Family Medical Centre now accepting appointments
When: April 23, 29, 30 (additional dates to be announced)
Time: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: 7217 Gelert Road (2nd Floor)
Who: Patients of the HFMC born in 1981 or earlier (first dose only)
How: Call the HFMC to book your appointment at 705-457-1212.
For those in the community who do not have a local primary care provider, mass immunization clinics are still open and available for patients to book.
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for those born in 1961 or earlier or 1966 or earlier with a highest-risk health condition
We will be offering appointments for patients of the Haliburton Family Medical Centre who are born in 1961 or earlier OR who are born in 1966 or earlier and have a highest-risk medical/health condition for COVID-19 immunization. We will prioritize patients for vaccination based on the Phase 2 “Primary Priority” (see link); https://www.health.gov.on.ca/…/COVID-19_Phase_2…
We will have limited vaccine so will not be able to immunize our entire patient population that fall into these categories, however, local mass immunization clinics are currently open. Anyone born in 1961 or earlier can book and anyone younger with an identified highest risk health condition or other identified priority for phase 2, will soon be able to book using the provincial system.
We will be offering AstraZeneca, therefore following current guidelines, only patients born in 1966 or earlier are eligible.
We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available. We will not be using the Provincial booking system, but will book our patients through our office.
As a reminder, those born in 1961 or earlier can call 1-888-999-6488 or go to https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca to book an appointment in a COVID vaccination clinic anywhere in the Province, including locations in Minden (S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena) and Haliburton (A.J. LaRue Community Centre)
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for those born in 1941 or earlier
The provinces online booking portal and telephone booking system will launch on Monday, March 15, 2021 to allow those born in 1941 or earlier to book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. In Haliburton County, our schedule will not be open until Thursday, March 18, 2021. We plan to start immunizing our 80 plus population March 22, 2021 to March 30, 2021. This relies heavily on vaccine inventory. As of Friday, March 12, 2021 we were promised that inventory. The clinics will be held at 7217 Gelert Road, 2nd Floor, and will run Monday to Friday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm and from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday. If you show up without an appointment you will not be seen. We will do our very best to support you in booking an appointment to be sure you receive your COVID-19 vaccination. For those who are home bound or simply cannot travel to the clinics, there will be other options available (including in home immunization or access to volunteer drivers).
The Provincial booking number is 1-888-999-6488 and the online portal is https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/ Again, you will only be able to book if you were born in 1941 or earlier. If you have a red and white health card you must call the booking number as you will not be able to register online. You may also call the number if you do not have a computer or the ability to book online.You will receive a booking confirmation code that you must bring with you the day of your appointment. We will likely not be scanning QR codes (matrix bar code), so be sure to have your booking confirmation code ready.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Two COVID-19 vaccines were recently approved by Health Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Both vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. “Messenger” vaccines work by sending information to your body so that it will be ready to fight COVID-19, if you are ever exposed.
More specifically, when you are given the vaccine (by injection into the muscle of the arm), the instructions (mRNA) enter your immune cells. The cells follow these instructions like a recipe and this allows them to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein”. This protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Once your body makes the spike protein pieces, your cells display them on their surface. This will alarm your immune system – because it recognizes that the protein pieces don’t belong there – and it will start to make antibodies. Antibodies help the body fight viruses by getting rid of “invaders”, such as spike protein pieces, that can cause infections. This process is what keeps the virus from “attacking” the body and what allows it to build immunity against COVID-19 overtime.
Your body is very smart. Once it learns how to fight off a specific virus, it remembers how to do it again. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, just like other vaccines, is that it helps your body develop immunity by learning to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 without having to get the illness.
How was the COVID-19 vaccine developed so fast?
mRNA vaccines are new, but they are not unknown. Researchers discovered mRNA technology over thirty years ago. In fact, scientists have been studying and working on a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine since the SARS outbreak in 2003. Therefore, there are many years of research behind this “new” technology, which allows for easier vaccine production.
Past research, in combination with endless financial and administrative support from governments, helped scientists around the world work together to develop a COVID-19 vaccine rapidly. This achievement is a result of global collaboration and the elimination of the “red tape” that typically slows down vaccine production.
Once vaccines are developed, they have to pass an in-depth review process by Health Canada before being approved. No safety requirements in clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine were bypassed. The criteria were just as strict as the regular process for any other vaccine.
What are the benefits of getting vaccinated for COVID-19?
COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how the virus will affect you. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. It may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Although COVID-19 has a high survival rate, it’s important to understand that symptoms can persist for weeks or months after infection, even in young and otherwise healthy people. COVID-19 can also cause damage to the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems. Therefore, the vaccine benefits outweigh the known risks of contracting COVID-19.
Following public health recommendations (e.g., wearing masks, social distancing) help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. The combination of getting vaccinated and following public health advice will offer you and others the best protection against COVID-19.
Overtime, vaccination will also allow ‘normal’ life to resume. This means that a lot of the things that you may currently be missing, such as physical contact with others, travel, sporting events, play dates, etc., will no longer seem so out of reach. That said, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will not only help you get closer to a new normal, but it will help your neighbours, community and country get back to enjoying these aspects of life again too.