Toronto's top doctor expresses concern with vaccination rates among residents 80 plus
Published Wednesday, June 2, 2021 4:04PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 2, 2021 5:36PM EDT
Toronto officials are urging eligible residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible as some age groups are not rolling up their sleeves as fast as others.
Dr. Elieen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, expressed her concerns about a lag in certain age groups getting their first shot, specifically the highest risk age group of those 80 years and older.
“There's a bit of a lag as that age group (80+) only has a little more than 73 per cent with a first dose. That leaves 27 per cent unvaccinated. And that's concerning and has been concerning me for a couple of weeks now,” she said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“If you have an 80-year-old in your life, find out if they're vaccinated. Find out what you can do to help them get vaccinated if they're not.”
As of Monday, Ontario residents aged 80 and older were eligible to start booking their second shot appointment online, as part of the province’s two-dose vaccine strategy which aims to fully vaccinate all eligible residents by the end of summer.
De Villa added that the 55 to 59 year-old age group is in the same boat as 80-plus, as roughly 72 per cent of individuals in this group have received their first dose.
However, the worst vaccination rates are among those between 30 and 54 years old, with rates ranging from 61 per cent to 67 per cent.
“That leaves at least a third of people between 30 and 54 without the protection of a vaccine. This age group does a lot of the heavy lifting in daily life, caring for children, caring for elders, and they are the bulk of the workforce. We need you in good health,” de Villa said.
In contrast, those between 20 and 24 years old are leading the way in vaccinations as approximately 76 per cent of people in this group have received their first dose.
Toronto Fire Chief Mattew Pegg also raised concerns about the increase of no-shows at mass immunization clinics across the city.
Last week, the percentage of people who did not arrive for their scheduled appointment ranged from 1.8 per cent to 4.2 per cent, with a weekly no-show average of three per cent.
“While no doses of vaccine were wasted as a result of no shows this does result in slower vaccine rollout across our city. Please ensure that you cancel your appointment via the provincial booking system, or the provincial call center in the event you will not be attending your scheduled appointment,” Pegg said.
Meanwhile, Toronto youth are wasting no time getting their first dose.
More than 45 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 have received their first shot in the city, representing 45.9 per cent of all Toronto youth. This marks an impressive accomplishment as youth only started receiving the vaccine less than a month ago on May 17.
During the weeks of June 14 and June 21, the city will be hosting a two-week youth vaccination blitz to ensure vaccine access to all eligible kids and teens.
In addition, Pegg said there are approximately 71,000 appointments still available between today and July 4 at all city-run clinics.
To date, more than 70 per cent of adults in the city have received their first dose, with more than 2.2 million doses administered in the city since mid-December.