Hamilton public health is saying 73.5 per cent of the city’s adult population have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Monday.
The city reported a record on June 29 revealing another 9,736 doses went into the arms of Hamiltonians, putting the overall total to 530,534 COVID-19 vaccinations through Hamilton clinics and pharmacies since late December.
The bulk of the doses administered at local clinics this week are the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, with some AstraZeneca for those who received it as their first shot.
Hamiltonians who got AstraZeneca first are not restricted to a second dose of the brand since the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) OK’d and recommended recipients get an mRNA as a second dose.
A Hamilton immunologist says mixing and matching different platforms or technologies for any vaccination traditionally works better since each has different strengths and weaknesses.
Dr. Dawn Bowdish, professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at McMaster University, told Global News that she concurs with a recent Oxford study that suggest a mixed schedule of shots which include a first of AstraZeneca followed by one of the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, produce better immune responses than giving another dose of AstraZeneca.
“And that’s because each of these vaccines has strengths and weaknesses, and they show different arms of the immune system, different parts of the virus,” Bowdish said.
“So when you mix and match, you often end up getting the best of all worlds. You get good cellular immunity, you get good antibodies.”
The study, called Com-COV, compared mixed two-dose schedules of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines, and found that in any combination, they produced high concentrations of antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein.
The data provides support for decisions made by Canada and some European countries offering alternatives to AstraZeneca as a second shot after the vaccine was linked to rare blood clots.
Bowdish says the AstraZeneca situation is unusual as Ontario typically would not accept a vaccine brand that has reported side effects with 1 of 55,000 cases, as discovered by public health in May.
“We would not put a vaccine on the Canadian market with those sorts of side effects unless there was some really obvious reason to do so,” said Bowdish.
“So this is where the situation is a little bit unique, that we are now offering people a different vaccine for their second shot to keep those risks at bay.”
Hamilton’s medical officer of health says generally side effects from the vaccine are rare and that the benefit of getting any one of them far out weight any risks involved.
“So paying good attention to anything that’s a serious side effect is, of course, a very important thing to do after any vaccine, after any medication that you take and making sure to seek care in a timely way if that happens to you,” Richardson said.
“Most importantly, is to remember that these are very, very rare events that happen.”
More than 14.4 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario as of Monday.
There are more than 4.5 million people who are fully vaccinated with two doses, which equals 37.3 per cent of the adult population in the province.
More than 36.7 million total doses have been administered in Canada to date, with 67.40 per cent of people having had at least one dose and 29.05 per cent now fully vaccinated.
Public health Canada says Pfizer-BioNTech is to send more than 2.4 million doses this week and Moderna about 1.4 million.
Hamilton reports 9 new COVID-19 cases
Hamilton reported just nine new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and another slight drop in the city’s seven-day average case rate — moving to 13 from 14 day over day.
As of Tuesday, the city has 116 active cases with more than 75 per cent of the occurrences among people under the age of 50, with about 26.72 per cent of cases among those aged 19 and under.
The city’s test positivity rate was 2.2 per cent as of Tuesday, slightly higher than the province’s daily number which checked in at 1.6 per cent.
Hamilton has just one outbreak as of Monday at the Meadowlands Preschool & Daycare on the west Mountain involving two total cases.
As of June 29, Ontario reported 257 people in hospitals with COVID-19 (up 39 from the previous day). There were 276 patients in intensive care units (ICU), down by 11 day over day.
The number of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals combined was 33 cases at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joe’s.
HHS had 19 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday with six in ICUs. St. Joe’s had 14 COVID-19 cases, 11 in ICUs.
– With files from Reuters
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