The top doctor for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is encouraging residents, primarily those 30 and under, to get vaccinated after seeing intake among that demographic hit a wall.
According to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, roughly 60 per cent of residents under 30 have received their first dose of the vaccine, compared to 80 per cent for eligible adults overall.
Intake among those under 30 is slowing down and the doctor thinks there is a misconception among younger people that COVID-19 won't significantly impact them.
"Young people traditionally have not been affected very seriously by COVID. They see that, 'Oh, it's the elderly that were dying. It's the elderly that were hospitalized,'" Dr. Roumeliotis told CityNews Ottawa. "In fact, we have been getting hospitalized individuals who are in their 30s and their teens — and it's rare, but we have had deaths in that age group as well."
He warns, while the overall status of COVID-19 is better than earlier this year, the virus is still present in the region.
"The pandemic now has become has become a pandemic for the unimmunized individuals, which gives us another good reason to get vaccinated as quickly as possible," he said.
Dr. Roumeliotis adds that vaccine clinics within the region are now offering walk-ins to reduce barriers and provide easier access to vaccines.