There is both encouraging and unsettling news in a recent statement from our local health unit.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health officials say the expected arrival of over 51,000 does of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks means more than half the region’s eligible population (those aged 16 and up) should be vaccinated by the end of May.
Combining the nearly 90,000 region residents who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with the 60,000 residents currently pre-registered for an appointment to receive a vaccination by the end of May, will allow the health unit to reach the 50% threshold.
While that is indeed “tremendous progress in a very short time,” as stated by WDGPH Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer, she also noted that in order to end the pandemic “we must continue to strive toward meeting and surpassing the goal of 75% of eligible residents vaccinated against COVID-19.”
So there is still more work to be done in the area of simply convincing area residents to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and others by becoming vaccinated.
Hopefully, the relatively low percentage of pre-registrations is more indicative of the relatively recent expansion of eligibility to all region residents over 16 and not a true indication of the level of vaccine hesitancy in the region.
As long as the supply was limited, full uptake on vaccines wasn’t an immediate concern as there has so far been enough willing arms for the available doses. However, once the supply catches up, as appears imminent, the vaccine resistant element of the population will become a genuine obstacle to the collective goal of lifting the restrictions that have disrupted our lives and trashed our economy for more than a year now.
The ironic thing is many of those same resistors will be the ones calling loudest to “end the lockdown.”
It’s hard to fathom the objections to vaccines for anyone old enough to remember measles, mumps, rubella and other conditions that have been practically eradicated by them. Few of this correspondent’s vintage escaped childhood without contracting one or more of these potentially serious illnesses.
Most vaccination objections can be eased by credible information. The problem is that much of the information in circulation, particularly through social media, is not credible.
For those with questions about vaccine efficiency or safety a good place to start is wdgpublichealth.ca, where a section titled “Answers to your COVID-19 vaccination questions” provides clear, concise answers to nearly every imaginable question about vaccinations and the process for obtaining them.