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As the last leg of a marathon, public health officials say reaching the last segment of the unvaccinated population will be a chore as Ottawa tries to achieve herd immunity – when a sufficient portion of the population is protected against COVID-19.
The city of Ottawa has set itself the ambitious goal of fully immunizing 90% of its population, including those who are still ineligible for vaccination, which most parts of the world have missed.As of July 23, 73 percent of the city’s total population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, slightly higher than the Ontario rate of 69 percent, and one of the highest vaccination rates for first doses. among the cities of the world.
Ontario’s early vaccination rate has fallen from a high of 6% per week in May to less than 1% in July, and it continues to decline. This means that it will take longer to vaccinate the remaining part of the unvaccinated population – likely an endeavor that will continue until 2022.
“I think I can’t underestimate how important it is to get very high immunization levels,” said Dr. Trevor Arnason of Ottawa Public Health.
“If we head into the fall with the vaccination where it is now, we’re definitely going to see epidemics. “
Immunization goals must change
Ontario, which has now been in Stage 3 of the plan to reopen for 10 days, must reach 80% of its eligible population with at least one dose and 75% with both doses, to consider removing all health restrictions public.
Some public health experts believe the target is not high enough due to the growing number of cases of the delta variant and the potential for breakthrough cases.
“We need to establish collective immunity, and we would need to be at a higher level: 85.90% vaccination rate,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Health Unit. Ontario, which also runs a group of public health units across Ontario.
Roumeliotis and Arnason say the restrictions could revert in the fall if the delta spreads, although they are not as tight as those we’ve seen throughout the pandemic. Ontario public health officials hope to avoid a spike in cases seen when reopening in the UK, Israel and the US.
A comparable situation exists in the Netherlands, which has a population only slightly larger than Ontario and similar vaccination rates. There, cases jumped to 10,000 a day just weeks after reopening due to the delta variant, which is now responsible for more than 80% of new infections in Ontario.
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