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Health Unit believes 70 per cent first vaccination is not enough to loosen restrictions

'We need to actually look at the clinical situation which is are people getting more and more ill even if there are fewer of them'
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The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit continues to be among some of the top regions for vaccination rates in the province.  

This week, during an online media conference, the Health Unit announced that 67 per cent of the adult population has received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

That also includes 11 per cent of the youth population has received the first dose since it opened to the 12 to 17 age group on Monday. Officials also say that another 25 per cent of the youth population has scheduled a shot. 

Dr. Jim Chirico, who has always taken a very cautious approach to re-opening the region, believes they have more to look at than a 70 per cent first vaccination number to open things up.  

"I think that we have to be really careful about one specific number," said Chirico.  

"Yes, it would be great when we hit that 70 per cent however we cannot use that in isolation as to decision making." 

Chirico says they need to look at all the factors.

"We need to actually look at the clinical situation which is are people getting more and more ill even if there are fewer of them," said Dr. Chirico.

"Are they ending up in the hospital? Are they ending up in the ICU? Is the health care system being overrun?  Is public health able to keep up with the ability to manage cases and contacts to get them isolated?

"I think we need to look at the trends of the time so the number in itself should not be the determining factor. You have to consider everything. But once we reach 70 per cent and more information is available to determine is that the number that is going to provide us with herd immunity as well as all the other factors I just mentioned. They need to be assessed at the time to determine is that the time we loosen restrictions. So everything needs to be considered." 

Andrea McLellan, Director COVID-19 Immunization Strategy at the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, follows Chirico's lead relating to that number.  

"The 70 per cent is but one metric that the ministry will be using to look at immunization rates. They will also look at the second dose rate of 70 per cent first dose 20 per cent second dose as one factor in a multitude of factors that will determine the re-opening process."  


Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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