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‘We are on track’: Guelph’s top doc health gives COVID-19 vaccine update

Click to play video: 'Ontario beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions Friday' Ontario beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions Friday
WATCH: Ontario is moving ahead with Step 1 of its reopening plan three days early. But come Friday, you still won't be able to do a lot – Jun 7, 2021

Guelph’s medical officer of health says the city, along with Wellington and Dufferin counties, should hit a target of partially vaccinating 75 per cent of the eligible population by the end of June.

“I think we are going to hit that number,” Dr. Nicola Mercer told city council during her COVID-19 update on Monday.

Read more: Doctors torn on reopening as some ICUs still grapple with COVID-19 patients

As of that morning, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported 66.5 per cent of its eligible population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 6.2 per cent had received two doses.

The unit is coming off a big week with Mercer reporting that nearly 25,000 vaccines were administered, which is the most during any week since the rollout began locally on Jan. 6.

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“We are on track. We are making progress, one vaccine at a time,” Mercer said.

She added that another 2,000 people need to sign up for their first vaccine to ensure that they hit their goal. While 75 per cent has always been the target, Mercer said it has been altered a bit, aiming to vaccinate 75 per cent of each age group in the region.

About 91 per cent of people aged 60-plus have received at least one dose, but less than half of those in younger age groups have received a shot.

Public health is specifically targeting those in their 20s and 30s to book an appointment for their first vaccine.

“Don’t be shy,” Mercer said. “You’ll see lots of people over the age of 60 who are vaccinated, but that does not compensate for those of you in your 20s.”

Read more: Ontario set to enter provincewide COVID-19 reopening plan on June 11

The presentation to city council came as Ontario announced it would be entering Step 1 of its reopening plan on Friday.

That means the province is scheduled to enter Step 2 on July 2 but only if 70 per cent of all eligible residents have had their first vaccine and 20 per cent have had their second.

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Mercer said it is uncertain as to when the region will hit that 20 per cent requirement.

“Unless we receive additional vaccines, we will not reach that target,” she said. “We will be five to seven days behind that just based on our vaccine allocation.”

But receiving additional vaccines is not unheard of. In fact, Mercer said the health unit received an extra 2,000 doses this week and 2,500 last week.

“Health units that use up their vaccine in a week — the province looks at that as criteria for distribution and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph uses our vaccine every week,” she said.

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Mercer said the push to get everyone fully vaccinated is more important than ever because of the Delta variant first detected in India. Research indicates the body requires two vaccines to fight it.

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Read more: Delta variant will likely become main strain in Ontario, but vaccines can stop spread

“We should be pretty concerned about the Delta variant,” Mercer said. “You need to doses to be protected. The Delta variant is real, it is spreading and we have documented it in our area and it is certainly growing in Ontario.”

Anyone aged 12 and up can pre-register for a vaccination appointment on public health’s website.

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