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Unvaccinated residents 20 times more likely to catch COVID-19, says Ottawa's top doctor

"This is Ottawa-specific data," said Dr. Vera Etches.
2020-09-03 Dr. Vera Etches Ottawa Chief Medical Officer of Health CK2
Ottawa Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches, September 3, 2020. Chris Kurys/

People in Ottawa who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are more than 20 times more likely to become infected with virus than people who have both shots, according to data from Ottawa's medical officer of health.

In a presentation to Ottawa Board of Health members and reporters, Thursday, August 19, Dr. Vera Etches laid out the data, drawn from Ottawa's COVID-19 cases between July 4 and August 7.

"Of the [vaccine] eligible population, the risk of being infected with COVID in an unvaccinated person is more than 20 times that of a person who's vaccinated," said Dr. Vera Etches. "This is Ottawa-specific data."

While there are many more people in Ottawa who are vaccinated than those not vaccinated, far fewer fully-vaccinated people became sick during that one-month span than those who had not been inoculated against the virus.

"We don't have the risk comparison for hospitalization at this point, because our numbers of hospitalizations have been so low," Dr. Etches explained. "However, we do see that when we look across other jurisdictions that it's an even greater protection against hospitalization, for people who are vaccinated."

In addition to increasing Ottawa's overall vaccination rate to 90 per cent, Dr. Etches said that beating the more-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 will depend on continued wearing of masks and residents' ability to limit their number of close contacts.

As of Thursday, 84 per cent of Ottawa residents over the age of 12 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine and 77 per cent have had two.

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