Ontario has officially surpassed the halfway point milestone with more than 50 per cent of adults receiving their second COVID-19 vaccination.
On Thursday, officials reported 16.3 million vaccine doses have been administered so far with 51.1 per cent of the adult population fully immunized.
“We want to ensure that more Ontarians can benefit from the protection of a two-dose summer,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday at a news conference.
“As Dr. Moore said earlier this week, vaccines are our ticket out of the pandemic,” Elliott continued, referencing Step 3 in the province’s reopening plan.
More than 78 per cent of adults have at least one dose.
When it comes to vaccine efficacy, officials said becoming infected with COVID-19 post-immunity is extremely rare.
In a six-month period from Dec. 14, 2020 to June 12, 2021, of all those who reported a COVID-19 infection 96 per cent of people had not been vaccinated at all. Only 3.6 per cent were partially vaccinated and 0.4 per cent of Ontarians were fully immunized.
Officials said the vast majority of new cases may be attributed to a lack of vaccination.
Post-immunity is considered at least 14 days after getting a second vaccination and maximum effectiveness may take more than 30 days, officials noted.
Read more: COVID-19: Details of next step of Ontario’s reopening plan in the works, health minister says
All eligible Ontarians, aged 12 and older, are able to get a second shot.
Health officials said Ontario is a “leading jurisdiction in first doses administered” as it released a chart comparing the province to Israel, United Kingdom and the United States which have all had successful vaccination programs.
According to officials, Ontario has either matched or exceeded the fastest pace of first dose vaccine administration seen in Israel and is currently exceeding the pace in the U.K and the U.S.
It took Ontario less than two weeks to get from 50 to 60 per cent of adults having a first shot compared to 29 days in Israel and 41 days in the U.K., officials noted.
Officials also noted that once the majority of Ontarians are fully vaccinated through hospitals, pharmacies and mass immunization clinics that primary care clinics will play an even larger role to target harder to reach patients and combat vaccine hesitancy.
“We’re going to be able to get hospitals out of the vaccine business, so to speak, and put it where it historically and traditionally is which is with the public health units with our pharmacy and primary care practitioners,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.
“When you think of other vaccines that are annually administered in Ontario those are the three primary pathways and we will move to that as we find our need for the mass vaccination clinics decreases,” Jones added.
Ontario is expected to receive millions of more vaccine doses by the end of July split between Pfizer and Moderna. There is around 250,000 AstraZeneca doses available on request, officials said.
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