Ottawa seeing 'the benefit' of vaccines as 40 per cent of adults fully vaccinated, top doctor says

Ottawa's medical officer of health says we are seeing the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, as cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease in the capital.

Ottawa Public Health reports just one person in an Ottawa hospital with COVID-19 related illnesses on Saturday, while there are no patients currently in the intensive care unit.

As of Saturday, 40 per cent of Ottawa adults 18 and older have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are considered fully vaccinated. A total of 80 per cent of adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

"We really see the benefit," said Dr. Vera Etches during an interview on CTV News at Six.

"This protection from vaccines, along with the hard work people have been doing with masking and distancing, it has left us with almost nobody in hospital due to COVID right now. This is the protection we want for everyone."

Starting Monday, Ottawa youth 12 to 17 will be eligible to book an accelerated second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Etches continues to urge everyone to book a COVID-19 vaccine to extend vaccine coverage.

"Things are happening faster and faster. We know people are considered fully protected, they have their full series, when they have two doses and now we are seeing that can be moved up," said Dr. Etches. "There are appointments available still in the booking system."

The city has said 200,000 appointments are available between July 1 and 20 at community clinics across the city.

CTV News at Six anchor Stefan Keyes asked Dr. Etches if Ottawa and Ontario are done with talk of a potential fourth wave.

"We're not until we see that we have high levels of protection with two doses for everyone, there's still that risk of a resurgence," said Dr. Etches.

"I think we're seeing signs that the demand is there, people are getting their vaccines. We need to continue, we're really aiming for as high of level of coverage as we can – over 90 per cent would be excellent."

Ottawa continues to see low numbers of COVID-19 cases, with the number of active cases the lowest since the start of the first wave in the spring of 2020.

Dr. Etches says she wants to say thank you to Ottawa residents for their efforts to help lower COVID-19 transmission in the community.

"I really continue to be so impressed that people are caring for one another, they're being cautious and they've contributed to where we are today with things much, much better," said Dr. Etches on Saturday evening.

"I know it's not over, people are really needing to recover, there's been some really hard times. We need to grieve the losses and I appreciate that we also have this sense that we're soon going to be able to celebrate getting people back going to the things they need."