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Leeds, Grenville, Lanark health unit first dose COVID-19 vaccination rate best in Ontario

"In the rural community, [everyone] engages in helping each other get the vaccine, I think," says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart.
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Of all the health units across the province, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has been the most successful at getting first dose COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of its residents.

As of Wednesday, July 14, 86 per cent of all residents over the age of 12 in its region had received at least one shot against COVID-19.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart thinks there are a few factors which have led to the local vaccine campaign's success. One of those being cooperation between municipalities.

"So we have 12... 10 or 12 municipalities that have opened their doors to us and allowed us to come into their hockey rink or community centre," she explains.

Dr. Stewart says the community response has also been fantastic.

"I'll give you an example: when we were in Prescott and there were some doses left at the end of the day, people were calling their neighbours to come down and get it. And there was someone who was walking by on the streets [and someone shouted] 'Hey, come on in, have you had your dose yet?' That's what makes a difference. In the rural community, [everyone] engages in helping each other get the vaccine, I think."

Many municipalities have seen first dose numbers lagging in the 18-39 age group, but Dr. Stewart thinks her team has done a pretty good job of reaching the younger population too.

"When we know that we're going to have extra doses, then through Facebook and through Twitter, we let people know right away: how many doses there are, where the clinic is, what the time is, and people are coming. That is appealing to younger people, I think, which is really good," she says.

The City of Ottawa has administered first dose COVID-19 vaccines to 82 per cent of all residents over the age of 12.

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