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Not enough people registered for first dose to reach public health target, says Dr. Mercer

The medical officer of health told Wellington County council the region needs about 12,000 more people to register to reach vaccination goal
20201216 Nicola Mercer KA 03
Dr. Nicola Mercer. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday file photo

The region’s top doctor says thousands more need to register for their first dose to be able to meet public health’s goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the eligible population. 

Dr. Nicola Mercer gave a vaccination update to County of Wellington’s council at a Thursday meeting. 

Although Mercer said projections show the region will hit 60 per cent of adults vaccinated, registration is falling short of the goal.

She explained there would need to be 202,000 people to receive their first dose in order to achieve the goal. 

“We’ve given 144,000 people first doses ... we now know between May 25 and June 30 we have about 42,000 appointments that are booked in our system,” Mercer said. 

More people are going to be invited to register but even with those included, Mercer said the gap is about 12,000 people across Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin County.

“What I’m sort of saying to you, as my community leaders, we need to find another four to 5,000 people in Wellington County,” Mercer said. “It’s not impossible but that’s the number that we need to register to make an appointment and declare they’re going to get the vaccine.”

She encouraged the councillors to be a “vaccine champion” and start conversations with family, friends and neighbours about getting vaccinated if they haven’t. 

She noted vaccination rates are high in those over 60 but the region is behind when it comes to younger people.

Local rates for those 18 to 29 years old is at 26 per cent but this can be attributed to other factors as well. 

Some parts of Ontario are highly vaccinated while others are not.

“That is because the vaccine was not distributed equally across Ontario,” Mercer said. 

She explained when Toronto, York and Peel regions were facing very high rates of disease, the province allocated 50 per cent of all available vaccines on top of their per capita doses.

Mercer said this means 60 per cent of Peel’s 18 to 29 year olds are vaccinated.

“There is a really significant difference, as we look at reopening across the province in terms of vaccine, it is not clear to me whether the province is going to correct this or we’re just going to continue on and parts of the province that got more vaccines will continue to be ahead,” Mercer said but acknowledged there wasn’t a plan as far as she was aware.

To drive home the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine, Mercer shared data showing 99.8 per cent of those who received their first dose did not report any COVID and a majority of the small percentage who did got it within two weeks of their vaccination. 

County mayors and councillors thanked Mercer and public health for their service during the pandemic. 

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Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for EloraFergusToday, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch EloraFergusToday in 2021.
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