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Oct. 21, 2021 | Thursday
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Unvaccinated urged to get jab to protect themselves and kids
Pharmacist Sean Simpson. (File photo)

With the Delta variant growing, flu season on the horizon and children under 12 not yet eligible for COVID vaccines, NOTL pharmacist Sean Simpson worries people who have hesitated about getting the shot could cause serious problems for themselves and those youngsters who are unvaccinated.

Niagara – and Ontario – have done a good job of ensuring everyone who wants a COVID vaccine has been able to get one, Simpson said.

But kids under 12 are “going to be at higher risk and so the one thing that unvaccinated people can do if they're eligible to be vaccinated is get the vaccine because it will help us to protect that vulnerable population until the time comes when they will be able to be vaccinated,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

Typically health care practitioners talk about protecting the older population when flu season is looming but kids can be vulnerable to the flu also, said Simpson.

With many of Ontario’s shutdown restrictions being lifted and more people socializing and congregating, he is concerned about both COVID and the flu being spread.

“As long as there's a significant number of people that are unvaccinated there will be hospitalizations and there will be deaths” due to COVID, he said.

“We know that that’s largely unnecessary at this point. There's ample (vaccine) supply available so if anybody's on the fence, they literally can make a choice that not only they save their own life but to help save others.”

That attitude has generally resonated among Canadians, he said, which is why the country’s vaccination rollout has been “very successful.”

“But I think there's still more work that we could do to protect others in our community and those around us.”

Simpson wants unvaccinated adults to know that they need not be worried about the serum.

“We've got thousands of people locally who have got the vaccine, not to mention, millions across the country and hundreds of millions, if not billions, worldwide. So, we know these are safe and we know they're effective.”

At his two pharmacies in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Simpson said they have whittled down a wait list that once had nearly 5,000 names on it.

Now, there are about 250 people waiting and he expects they will all have their shots within the next week or two. And for anyone who still needs their first shot, there should be no waiting, he said.

In fact, after several months of high demand “the phones aren't ringing, the messages aren't coming through at the same pace” now, he said.

Depending on the number of doses received at his stores in the coming days, he anticipates having more serum available than people signed up.

The Virgil location is dispensing Pfizer while the Apothecary in Old Town is allotted Moderna.

Among those still seeking the jab, Simpson is seeing a shift in priorities. Now, with the possibility of travel on the horizon, more people are getting inoculated so they can vacation or visit loved ones.

As well, some people are inquiring about getting private COVID tests for travel or work, he said.

The rapid antigen test ($30) and PCR screening ($165) are both available but he cautioned people to check exactly which test authorities will accept if you’re travelling.