Health officials monitor how reopening affects unvaccinated Ottawa residents
Almost one-third of Ottawa’s population remains unvaccinated against COVID-19 as concerns about the delta variant grow around the world, and local health officials say the threat of a resurgence remains.
Wednesday’s update from Ottawa Public Health showed 71 per cent of Ottawa’s total population has at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 50 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
That is positive news, officials say, but that still leaves around 300,000 residents without the first dose, which includes those younger than 12 who are not yet eligible.
“The pandemic is not over,” Dr. Brent Moloughney, Ottawa’s deputy medical officer of health, told reporters Wednesday.
Moloughney said the city and the province will monitor how the situation progresses as Ontario moves into Step 3 of its reopening plan Friday, especially given an increase in cases around the world when they began to reopen.
“Even though the case counts are low now and our vaccine rates are going up, there’s still the possibility of a resurgence,” he said.
“The experience that we’ve seen in other countries that have opened up … is cautionary for us.”
Ottawa has been a success story for vaccinating youth age 12 to 17. As of Wednesday, 80 per cent had one dose and 24 per cent were fully vaccinated, which leads all provincial health units.
The city’s hands are tied as they await plans for children younger than 12. That group adds up to about 132,000, which is a “sizeable chunk” of those unvaccinated, according to Moloughney.