DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit remains concerned about vaccination numbers starting to plateau in the health region.


“We’re still seeing a lower uptake of first doses among younger populations. For youth aged 12 to 17, 56 percent have had their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and [in] young adults aged 18 to 29, 58.4 percent have received their first dose of vaccine. If we contrast the population aged 60 and older across HKPR, 85.8 percent of [that population] have received their first dose of vaccine,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Natalie Bocking told reporters, on Wednesday, July 7th.


Dr. Bocking added, the health unit has only been seeing “very small incremental increases” in the first dose vaccination numbers.
She stressed, the COVID-19 vaccines “are safe and effective,” and said, getting the first dose protection rate as high as possible “is really incredibly important.”


Starting this week, Ross Memorial Hospital will offer mobile walk-in clinics, at the Bolsover Community Centre and the Norland Recreation Centre, in Kinmount and Manvers.


“There’s a big push for all of these walk-in clinics to really be promoting first doses. [They’re] trying to ensure there are no barriers for individuals still needing their first dose,” Dr. Bocking explained.


The local medical officer was asked what the health unit can do to ease the concerns of people who are still cautious about receiving their first dose of vaccine.


“I continue to reiterate the message, the vaccines are safe, and the vaccines are effective. Millions of people globally have received the vaccines. Any products [which] came to market and were being implemented went through the safety trials, the clinical trials associated to being approved by the different regulatory bodies,” Dr. Bocking responded. “I think when we look at the overall impacts of COVID-19 on our healthcare system and on our communities, and then we look at the potential positive benefits of vaccination, those benefits really far outweigh the challenges and the harmful impacts we’ve had from COVID-19 since the pandemic started. I would encourage people to [not only] think about their own health, but also think about the health of their family and community members.”