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Higher vaccination rate still the goal as local COVID numbers drop: Ottawa health officials

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney says the Delta variant still makes up for most of Ottawa's infections, even though numbers are declining.
2020-12-15 COVID-19 vaccine the ottawa hospital
Long-term care home employee receiving COVID-19 vaccine at The Ottawa Hospital, December 15, 2020. Photo/ The Ottawa Hospital

Ottawa's associate medical officer of health continues to encourage residents who are partially or not vaccinated against COVID-19 to get their shots, even as local indicators of community spread improve.

According to Ottawa Public Health (OPH) data, 85 per cent of residents over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated against the virus, but concerns about the Delta variant remain. The variant currently makes up the majority of new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa's.

On top of continuing COVID restrictions, Dr. Brent Moloughney says getting more people vaccinated should continue to keep the case numbers low amid the fourth wave. 

"We have vaccines that are highly effecting at preventing hospitalization and death," Dr. Mologhney said. "We need to continue maximize the number of people who have vaccines." 

The doctor explains that while recent COVID-19 related deaths are a cause of concern, those who are fully vaccinated against the virus are protected. However, those with underlying conditions remain at-risk of dying as a result of COVID-19 complications, even if they are fully vaccinated. 

"While it's very rare, it can happen," he said. "It's usually people who are either very old or have significant serious illnesses." 

He is also reminding those that choose to interact with people outside of their household group should still continue to exercise caution, in order to reduce the transmission of the Delta variant.

With the third shot available for vulnerable populations in Ottawa, Dr. Moloughney hopes that upon approval from public health, that additional age groups could be added to the list. At the moment, a third vaccine dose is only recommended to those are immunocompromised and OPH has been working with retirement and long care homes to offer third doses.

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