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This summer, public health is encouraging residents of Chatham-Kent to celebrate #TwoDoseSummerCK.

The hashtag is an offer for everyone to join in for a special community-wide celebration next week, marking Chatham-Kent’s vaccination success and encouraging more people to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

According to Medical Officer Dr. David Colby, while the youth vaccination rate lags behind the rest of the province, there’s still time for youth 12 and up to get their shots before the school year starts.

The municipality is also behind the province by 11.5 percentage points for a full vaccination rate among youth aged 12 to 17.

On a positive note, Dr. Colby said Chatham-Kent’s vaccination rate for those 60 and older is very strong.

“It’s getting to a point where it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Colby. “We need to do better. We know what we have to do, and we just have to do it.”

People who are fully vaccinated are encouraged to:

• Share their reason on the virtual duct tape wall at IAmGettingVaccinatedBecause.com

• Post a photo or their vaccination story using the #TwoDoseSummerCK hashtag on social media

• Decorate your home with the I Am Getting Vaccinated Because firework or post this downloadable firework in your window

People who are not fully vaccinated are invited to complete their vaccination series by:

• Booking an appointment on or before August 5th

• Attending a walk-in clinic on or before August 5th

People who have not yet received the vaccine are encouraged to:

• Inform themselves with reliable information from trusted sources

• Talk to their health care provider

• Talk to a public health nurse by calling 519.355.1071 x 1900

• Visit a walk-in clinic to speak to a public health nurse

“We are making it easy and convenient for people to get their kids vaccinated,” said Dr. Colby. “We’ve done pop-up clinics; appointments are no longer required to get a vaccine at the Bradley Centre, and we will continue all of these measures as well as any others in order to increase vaccinations.”

In order for Ontario to move out of Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen, Premier Doug Ford said the province must reach its goal of vaccinating 80 percent of eligible residents with one dose and 75 percent with two. Ford said the province is close to reaching its vaccination goal.

In Ontario, adults aged 18+ have an 81.21 percent first-dose coverage rate and a full vaccination rate of 69.73 percent. By comparison, in Chatham-Kent, adults aged 18+ have a 77 percent first-dose coverage rate and a full vaccination rate of 67 percent.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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