Nearly 160,000 Waterloo Region residents not yet immunized against COVID-19
Nearly 160,000 Waterloo Region residents are either not fully immunized against COVID-19 or are not yet eligible for the jab, the health unit says.
Speaking at the region's weekly COVID-19 briefing, medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said of those, about 77,000 residents are eligible for the shot but are either unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated.
Another 82,000 residents are children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
"It remains critical that we maintain certain public health precautions while we continue to work toward the highest rates of immunization possible in our community," Dr. Wang said. "Delta will remain a risk due to its high transmissibility, especially to groups of people who remain unvaccinated."
Despite thousands of residents still not being vaccinated, more than 90 per cent of the region's eligible population has received at least one dose. Nearly 86 per cent of residents 12 and older are already fully vaccinated.
"Our COVID-19 trends have been stable or slowly decreasing in the last few weeks," Dr. Wang said. "These are encouraging signs that are due to residents stepping up to be vaccinated."
She said case rates, hospitalizations and outbreaks have all been slowly improving in recent weeks, but added residents must remain vigilant at following public health measures, particularly as more activities move indoors in the colder months.
"We need to keep our foot on the gas pedal," Dr. Wang said. "We need to continue to be careful and cautious in terms of how we face the coming weeks and months because its very possible that the Delta variant will spread more easily in indoor environments and people are going more into indoor environments as the weather gets colder."
With COVID-19 trends improving in the region, the health unit will no longer be updating its dashboard on weekends.
VACCINE ROLLOUT ADJUSTS TO DEMAND
For Waterloo Region to hit the 90 per cent mark for the number of eligible residents fully vaccinated, just more than 20,000 people must get their second dose.
Of that number, Vickie Murray, the region's vaccine lead, said about 10,000 are currently eligible for their second jab and the remainder will become eligible over the next month.
She's encouraging anyone eligible for the second dose to obtain it as soon as possible.
Currently, the region is averaging about 900 doses administered per day.
Officials are also continue to offering third dose booster shots to certain high-risk residents and those in long-term care homes. So far, the region has administered 5,854 third doses.
With demand for the vaccine waning, the Boardwalk vaccine clinic will be reducing its hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Oct. 31.
The region's mobile vaccine bus continues to operate, offering both second and first doses.