August 13th Weekly Update

Published on August 13, 2021
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Dear Neighbour, 

Keeping a low rate of infection in our communities and protecting our most vulnerable is how we can keep our schools, our businesses and our social settings as safe as possible while minimizing disruption. A complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series provides strong protection against COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes, including against the Delta variant, in the general population.

However, for some populations, a third dose may be required to provide sufficient protection based on a suboptimal or waning immune response to vaccines and increased risk of COVID-19 infection. Based on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts, the province will begin offering third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to select vulnerable populations:

  • Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants)
  • Patients with hematological cancers (examples include lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia) on active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) for malignant hematologic disorders
  • Recipients of an anti-CD20 agent (e.g. rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab)
  • Residents of high-risk congregate settings including long-term care homes, higher-risk licensed retirement homes and First Nations elder care lodges

Individuals in these groups can receive their third dose at a minimum of eight weeks following their second dose and will be contacted by their health care provider such as their primary care provider, specialist, or their hospital specialty program. Locations and timing for third doses may vary by public health unit based on local considerations, with some beginning as early as this week where opportunities exist.

In addition, to further support a safer return to school by ensuring more children and youth can benefit from the protection offered by the vaccine, the province will extend eligibility to the Pfizer vaccine to children born in 2009. Ontario has closely monitored data from Alberta and British Columbia in making this decision, and these provinces have offered the Pfizer vaccine to youth born in 2009 for several months with no risks identified. Starting on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, all children turning 12 years old before the end of 2021 will be eligible to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and can book their appointment through the provincial booking system, through their public health unit, or pharmacies, or can walk-in to vaccination clinics across the province.

The Ministry of Education intends to introduce a vaccination disclosure policy for all publicly-funded school board employees, and staff in private schools as well as for all staff in licensed child care settings for the 2021-22 school year, with rapid antigen testing requirements for staff who are not immunized against COVID-19. The Ontario government is also working with public health units and publicly funded school boards to run voluntary vaccination clinics in or nearby schools to make vaccines even more convenient and accessible for eligible students, their families, educators and school staff returning to school this fall.

To protect vulnerable patients and staff in settings where the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant is higher, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued a directive mandating hospitals and home and community care service providers to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees, staff, contractors, students and volunteers, and for ambulance services to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for paramedics. The vaccination policy must be effective no later than September 7, 2021, and at a minimum will require these individuals to provide proof of one of three things:

  • Full vaccination against COVID-19;
  • A medical reason for not being vaccinated against COVID-19; or
  • Completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session.

Vaccination policies will also be implemented in other higher-risk settings such as post-secondary institutions, licensed retirement homes, women’s shelters, and congregate group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, children’s treatment centres and other services for children with special needs, and licensed children’s residential settings. The Ontario Public Service, including the Premier's Office and Minister's Offices, will also be implementing a vaccination policy.

Individuals who do not provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will be required to undertake regular antigen testing. These settings will be required to track and report on the implementation of their policies to the provincial government. This is similar to the vaccination policy requirements currently in place for long-term care homes. 

I will be hosting my annual summer barbecue on September 2nd, 2021 with public health and safety measures in place. I would like to invite my constituents to come out and chat with me while enjoying some great BBQ. Vegetarian and Kosher options are also available. For more information and to RSVP please visit www.robinmartinmpp.ca/bbq 

My constituency office is open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 4PM. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop by. We encourage you to continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected]. We remain ready to assist.

 
Stay safe, 
Robin Martin, MPP
Eglinton-Lawrence
 
For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information from the Government of Ontario visit ontario.ca/coronavirus
 
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Authorized by the CFO for the Eglinton-Lawrence PC Association