Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — With more than 1 in 4 residents in the region still unvaccinated, look for teen influencers to spread the word among peers urging them to get jabbed in the middle of their tattoo.
Dr. Charles Gardner acknowledged today what the province says about Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) having one of the lowest uptakes of vaccinations by kids 12-17.
As of today only 63.5 per cent of that age group have had a first shot and 28.1 per cent a second dose.
He admits SMDHU is “trailing,” but says he hopes to employ youth ambassadors to “bolster messaging,” especially among young men up to age 39.
That compares to 78 per cent of adults 18+ who have been immunized once.
This as just 2 cases were reported today (provincially and by the health unit), both in Bradford-West Gwillimbury. A number similar to mid-August last.
The hesitancy among some to get inoculated stems in large part to concerns about “mixing and matching” vaccines.
Indeed, yesterday at a pop-up clinic in Gravenhurst a young man travelled from Huntsville to get the Pfizer vaccine after turning down Moderna Saturday in his hometown.
Gardner said regretfully too often that’s the case now.
And while the health unit operates on “informed consent” and that it’s “absolutely people’s right” to pick and choose, he “highly hopes” people will take what ever is offered.
He says one dose of any vaccine is a health start for you and two is better for those around you.
And with all clinics offering walk-ins now — and 130 pharmacies participating along with primary care physicians — there is no excuse to not be needled.
As well, he said he expects more shipments of Pfizer through the end of the month to help with demand. That after receiving less vaccine as cases counts dropped region-wide — save for Bradford-West Gwillimbury.
SMHDU has had 39 cases the past two weeks, which is the fourth straight week with 50 or less. That’s similar to last August.
But 4 deaths since Gardner last reported. They were all men from Simcoe, two aged 80+ and 2 who were 45 to 64. One was fully vaccinated, 1 was partially vaccinated and two had received no immunization.
Four people remain in hospital, 1 in ICU. They range in age from under 10 to in their 70s. That’s down from 10 and 3 two weeks ago.
With 101 Delta variants today, Gardner said 60 per cent of recent cases have all been of that VOC.
Also, as of today, there are no outbreaks, which is notable.
In total to date, 700,600 vaccines have been handed out. That’s 68 per cent of the population with one dose and 49 per cent with two.
Gardner said it’s those are figures that helped the province move last Friday to Step 3.
And to move to fully open, possibly by September, the province wants 80 per cent with one dose and 75 per cent with two.
But with Delta variants on the rise (101 in Simcoe-Muskoka today) concerns about the rest of the summer and in to the fall remain front of mind for Gardner.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, expects a “fall challenge” when numbers should rise as seasonal viruses traditionally return.
That’s when the “true test” will come, Gardner quoted Moore as saying.
Thus the importance of school control measures, Gardner told the media.
SMDHU’s MOH was less specific on the topic of vaccine passports, saying he recommends tighter controls by individual groups such as schools to monitor and advocate for the double-vax.
Gardner also noted that the health suffers from a deficit of 11,500 in comparing the number of people coming in to the region to be vaccinated vs. those from Simcoe-Muskoka who have been vaccinated abroad in Ontario.
A large number of those were from the Bradford-West Gwillimbury area where neighbouring health units experienced a large demand.
As well, he did say seasonal residents have also made use of local clinics.
Gardner made mention of summer camps, too.
He said with the health unit having the most overnight camps in the province (one third of them, about 70), he said they won’t be holding vaccine clinics at any of them due to logistics of doing them safely. And low participation at one recent try in Innisfil where only 65 youth joined in. Another 35 vaccinated were members of the public.
On the topic of masking going forward, he said indoors always publicly until provincial rules are dropped.
But outdoors it’s safe if everyone is fully vaccinated. But if not and you can’t remain two metres apart, he indeed where a mask.
TUESDAY: COVID BY THE NUMBERS … 0 CASES IN SIMCOE-MUSKOKA (2 YESTERDAY) … ONTARIO 127 AND 2 DEATHS (130-0) … TORONTO 34 (18), YORK 14 (8), PEEL 10 (17) … NORTH BAY-PARRY SOUND 3 (2) … PORCUPINE 10 (17) …
HEALTH UNIT HIGHLIGHTS:
- 12,336 cases to date
- 4 new cases this week and 15 last week, which was 29% lower than the 21 cases the week of July 4.
- 4 deaths in July, 6 in June
- 3,997Alpha variants, 166 Gamma, 34 Beta and 101 Delta
- 673 cases await confirmation of variant
- 710,200+ vaccines have been administered in Simcoe-Muskoka
- 408,750+ residents have had their first vaccine (68% of population)
- 78% of adults 18+ have had one vaccine
- 63.5% of youth 12-17 have had their first vaccine
IN OTHER COVID NEWS …
- A Dutch man, 21, was jailed a year for fire-bombing a vaccine clinic.
- In India new numbers show deaths are 10 times what the government reported. Between January 2020 and June 2021 more than 3 million to 4.7 million Indians have died, show independent numbers. The Indian government said the number was just about 400,000.
- Mexican authorities have arrested six people after fake anti-viral shots of Remdesivir were being sold online for $2,000 a piece. The drug has been approved in Canada and the U.S.
- Joe Biden is more concerned about opening the borders with Mexico than Canada due to Delta concerns.
- America’s top doc Dr. Anthony Fauci concurs with his president, at least on the VOC, which he said was holding the country’s recovery back due to hesitancy among blue states where Republicans are reluctant to get shot and Delta cases are the worst. He blamed the pushback on “ideology and political persuasion.” “It doesn’t make sense,” he told a Senate committee today.
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