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WDG Public Health calls for more vaccine

Health unit only receiving a fraction of the vaccine it can administer, says director of health protection

Local health officials say they could be vaccinating far more people than they are if doses were available.

“Our dose allocation has not met our expectation or our need locally,” Christopher Beveridge, director of health protection for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, told city council Monday afternoon.

“If I had one ask of the province, it would be to provide us more vaccine. That would also be to the federal government.”

The health unit is capable of vaccinating 10,000 people per day, Beverage said, noting fewer than 10,000 doses per week have been coming in, though that’s expected to rise this month.

Most weeks, WDG Public Health has received 7,020 doses per week, he said, pointing out that number has risen to 9,360 this week and will grow again to nearly 13,000 per week by the end of the month.

“It’s still more than what we were getting before,” Beverage said, explaining he’s unaware of how many doses are being provided to pharmacies.

More than 100,000 WDG residents have received at least one dose of vaccine at this point, approaching half of the health unit’s goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the region's eligible population.

“We get closer every day, it’s just little steps to get there,” said Beverage. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

At the moment, variants of concern account for about 75 per cent of new COVID-19 cases, Beverage said, noting the hardest-hit age group in this third wave is those between 20 and 39 years of age.

“That’s the environment we’re in now,” he said. “We’ll continue to see relatively high rates of disease and cases in the age groups that are not yet eligible for vaccination.

“The public health measures are more important than ever because of the variants of concern and the high-transmissible features that they present.”

In the first wave, a majority of cases involved those in the 80-plus age group.

There are three ways to arrange for vaccination – through the health unit, via pharmacies and by way of family doctors.

“The best vaccine you can get is the vaccine you can get today,” he said. “Everyone is encouraged to book an appointment for a vaccine as soon as you can get it.”