Almost 23,000 people in our region have been given at least one needle filled with COVID-19 vaccine.

Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton says its clinics have so far been using the Moderna vaccine… although Pfizer is now being introduced in Timmins.

“Just because of the storage and handling requirements of Pfizer,” Catton explains. “We’re able to use it here a little bit more easily and use our Moderna for travelling across the region.”

AstraZeneca vaccine is being used at a pharmacy in each of Timmins, Kap and Cochrane, and by the family health teams in Kapuskasing and Timmins.

SURGE SHOWS NEED FOR TIGHT RESTRICTIONS

Dr. Catton says the current surge of cases in PHU territory includes three school outbreaks in Iroquois Falls and one in Timmins, as well as workplace outbreaks at the Kidd and Black Fox Mines and Black River-Matheson Township.

“It really speaks to the fact that we really did need further measures in place,” she asserts.  “We need people staying home, we need people to stop interacting with those they don’t live with unless it’s absolutely essential and that is how we are going to get through this.”

Catton says if we were still in the colour-coded system, with the number of current cases in the region, we would be in the grey, strictest level of restrictions.  She also adds that the rule of thumb is no longer mask or six feet distance between you and anyone else,  It’s now mask AND distancing.