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District getting closer to provincial vaccination targets

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The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has detailed how many people still need to get vaccinated locally to reach provincial targets.

The province has set 80 percent of Ontarians as the target for a first dose and 75 percent for a second dose as part of the criteria to move into stage four of the reopening plan. 

As of 3 pm Wednesday, 77 percent of residents 12 and older in the district have had one dose and 66 percent are fully inoculated.  

“This means we need 3,658 individuals to receive their first dose of COVID vaccine and 11,020 individuals to receive their second dose of COVID vaccine,” says Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy.

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She also says they’ve altered the way they’re offering clinics, pointing out clinics with low bookings have been cancelled.  

“As part of our plan to reach people and reduce barriers, all of our clinics moving forward will be accepting walk-ins and smaller pop-up clinics will be taking place throughout the district,” McLellan says. 

Pop-up clinics are being held in early August in Powassan, River Valley and Verner, with more being planned.  

It’s not yet clear if the regional rates need to be at the provincial targets to move into stage four when the province does. 

But, Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, says it’s more than just about reaching targets.  

“The numbers are there to help get to a level where we can certainly help prevent people from being hospitalized, from people dying, ending up on ventilators.  We came very close in the third wave to having the healthcare system get very close to where it could’ve been overwhelmed very easily.  We don’t want to go there again,” he says. 

Dr. Chirico also says it’s going to be helpful in getting kids back into school safely and asks parents to consider getting their children vaccinated as soon as possible.  

“We know that in the past the best protection against school outbreaks is to have very low community spread.  The only way we’re going to do that, especially with everything opening up, is to have people vaccinated, doing risk assessments and following public health measures,” Dr. Chirico says. 

With another long weekend coming up, he again asks residents to ‘consider the risk’ before attending social gatherings and to follow public health measures.    

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