Three in five Ottawa adults have now received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine as the city reports its second day with no new infections this week.
As of Wednesday, 526,804 people aged 12 and older have received two doses of the vaccine, representing 57 per cent of Ottawa’s eligible population and half of all residents in the city.
The proportion of eligible residents with at least one dose of the vaccine also ticked up to 82 per cent in Ottawa Public Health’s mid-week update.
Ottawa leads the province in vaccinations for the 12-17 age group, the city’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney said in a media availability on Wednesday morning.
OPH also reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the city for the second time in a week.
There are now 25 active cases of COVID-19 in the city and only one person in hospital with the virus.
With case counts diminishing and vaccination rates rising, Moloughney said Wednesday that “the trend has been quite positive” in Ottawa’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as the city prepares to enter Step 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan on Friday, he also cautioned that vaccine levels are not high enough to declare the pandemic over.
He pointed to countries such as the United Kingdom and Israel that have seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases driven by the more-transmissible Delta variant even amid high vaccination rates.
There are still roughly 300,000 people in Ottawa who are not protected by vaccines, Moloughney noted. Some 44 per cent of that group are children under the eligible age of 12, according to OPH figures.
“That’s a lot of people COVID can still work with,” he said.
Anthony Di Monte, the head of Ottawa’s vaccine distribution task force, said during Wednesday’s conference call that demand at some of the city’s community clinics has begun to wane. He specifically named City Hall, the Minto Sportsplex at the University of Ottawa and the Nepean Sportsplex seeing lulls in appointment volumes at certain hours of the day.
He said the city is planning to diminish the number of sites it’s standing up in the near future as part of the “normal evolution” of its vaccine rollout, as supply and capacity outstrip demand.
Over the next few weeks, Di Monte said the task force will be figuring out where they can close down clinics without significantly affecting residents’ access to vaccines.
“I’d rather have a few days where a couple of sites have an hour or two here that aren’t too busy, than close them down and then have… areas where it creates another barrier for people to not get their vaccine,” he said.
Getting to the remaining 20 per cent of eligible Ottawans will require more than a “one-size-fits-all” strategy, Moloughney said.
The city continues its outreach campaign to help residents make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccines and has lowered the barriers for those in need of a first dose, opening up walk-in appointments at community clinics for those without an initial shot.