Waterloo Region’s top doctor wants 90% of eligible population fully vaccinated amid Delta variant

Although more than 80 per cent of eligible residents have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the region’s top doctor says she is not satisfied yet.

“We are also seeing steady progress in vaccination rates, with almost 83 percent of all eligible individuals having received one dose and almost 69 per cent receiving their second dose,” medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang told reporters on Friday.

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“But we remain at risk for a resurgence of Delta because our vaccine wall of protection is not complete.”

She set the overall target as surpassing 90 per cent.

“We need to aim for the highest first and second dose coverage rates possible,” Wang said.

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“For sustained control of resurgences, we need to aim for 90 per cent coverage or more for first and second doses.”

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One of the age groups being vaccinated the fastest is those between the ages of 18 and 29, which has now seen 87.44 per cent get one needle – only trailing those over the age of 70 in terms of overall number.

Wang gave praise to the younger age group, which has now seen 64.84 per cent fully vaccinated.

“I also want to give a special shout out to the 18-to 29-year-olds in our community,” Wang said.

“Waterloo Region has one of the highest number of first doses in this age group in the province.”

The area will likely surpass another milestone on Friday as the region’s vaccine distribution task force says 59.46 per cent of area residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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A total of 350,168 residents have now been vaccinated, 3,836 more than was reported by the task force on Thursday.

There have also now been 758,343 jabs in the area, 4,596 more than was reported 24 hours earlier.

Wang laid out some of the stats for those who are vaccinated vs. unvaccinated in an attempt to prove the importance of getting two jabs.

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“Across Ontario, the risk of getting COVID-19 is 6.4 times higher for individuals who are not vaccinated compared to those who are fully vaccinated,” she noted.

“Full vaccination offers the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death in 19.”

She said that 72.1 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the area since May 1 involved those who had not been vaccinated. Another 25.3 per cent were those were either partially vaccinated or were still in the two-week window after the second dose.

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“Regarding hospitalizations, the majority of hospitalizations, 72.1 per cent, were individuals who were not vaccinated, 25.2 per cent were partially vaccinated or not yet fully protected by their vaccination, 2.7 per cent of hospitalizations were fully vaccinated persons,” she explained.

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“Of reported deaths in our community since May 1st, 83.4 per cent were not vaccinated or not yet protected by the vaccination.”

She said that four of five deaths among those fully vaccinated since May 1 were linked to long-term care or retirement homes.

“Your best protection against COVID-19 is full vaccination so don’t delay your second dose,” Wang said.

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