Prime Minister points to effects of variant on Roberta Place as he urges residents to get vaccinated

Decline in number of people seeking a first dose in the region, especially among those aged 18 to 29

Health officials in Simcoe-Muskoka and across the country are concerned about vaccine hesitancy. From about mid-June onward, we’ve seen a dwindling of folks seeking out the first dose.

In Simcoe-Muskoka fewer than 68 per cent of those aged 12 and up have gotten that shot, a percentage that has barely grown in the past two weeks. The 18 to 29 age group is seeing the lowest vaccination rates around these parts, while the same can be said for the provincial vaccination rates. Federally, those 12 to 18 represent the largest group who haven’t gotten at least one dose, followed by the 18 to 29 crowd.

graph courtesy the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

This drop-off in first dose administration comes amid an increase in infections attributed to a faster-spreading Delta variant.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Barrie 360 residents of this area should know the threat variants pose all too well. “One of the things that we know, unfortunately in Barrie, is from the experience at Roberta Place, how bad variants can get and how hard they can hit, even when things seem to be going well,” he said. An outbreak at the Barrie long-term care home that claimed 71 lives was attributed to the highly contagious B.1.1.7. variant and came in the infancy of the country’s vaccination program.

The Roberta Place outbreak was declared over in mid-February after lasting six weeks

“That’s sort of what we’re seeing right now with the Delta variant in Europe, in the UK, and elsewhere. And what that means is, we need to continue getting vaccinated,” added Trudeau. “This is how we protect ourselves.”

“I know there’s a lot of people who are saying, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I want to get vaccinated, you know, everybody else is getting vaccinated, so I’ll be safe,'” continued the Prime Minister. “The people who are falling sick, the people who are dying, are almost all people who chose not to get vaccinated.”

“So, we need to get vaccinated to get through this to prevent from having to go back into lockdowns, which nobody wants. And mostly to keep people safe. That’s what everyone can and must do. Get yourself vaccinated for yourself, for your loved one. And for your community,” he concluded.

You can book a vaccine online or by phone at 1-833-943-3900.

On Friday, Public Health Ontario reported 192 new cases of COVID-19 across the province, along with one additional death and 147 more recoveries. There were 120,231 vaccines administered a day prior, while 19,757 tests were processed.

Locally, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported eight new cases, with no new recoveries or deaths noted in Friday’s report.