BRUCE COUNTY – Bruce County councillors had some questions for Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health, on the new vaccine passport that will soon come into effect.
County Coun. Bob Buckle, mayor of South Bruce, said not all older people use cell phones. He wanted to know where they could get the vaccination certificate. He asked if they should contact their doctor.
Arra said they should go to where they got the vaccine, and can always call the health unit.
Proof of vaccination will be required at certain non-essential businesses in the province, such as restaurants (indoor dining), bars, movie theatres, concert halls, casinos, bingo halls, convention centres and gyms, as of Sept. 22. Proof of vaccination will not be required for retail shopping, hair salons, banks, churches, restaurant patios and other outdoor spaces.
The focus of Arra’s update was vaccinations. Locally, the numbers pretty much echo provincial averages, with 82 per cent of the eligible population having had one dose and 76 per cent having had two doses.
“That’s far from the 90 per cent required (for herd immunity with the Delta variant),” he said.
The local health unit continues with targeted clinics and traditional venues – medical clinics and pharmacies. School clinics are being held for older students eligible to be vaccinated.
Regarding third doses of the vaccine, Arra said the health unit is working with its partners in long-term care and medical practices on vaccinating those most vulnerable.
The health unit is also working with workplaces to ensure policies are in place for a safety of employees.
It’s working with schools and school boards to ensure the safe return of students and staff.
He described a pilot project in which Grey-Bruce and some other health units are participating regarding testing at home for people who have had two doses of vaccine and have been exposed to COVID.
“We should get some good data from this,” he said.
County Coun. Chris Peabody raised the issue of vaccination among staff in the county’s two long-term care homes.
“In one of our homes, a quarter of the staff aren’t vaccinated,” he said. “As the operator of those homes, we will have to take our responsibility seriously.”
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times