Oxford medical leaders send open letter to community urging vaccines

Oxford County’s top doctors and medical professionals have written an open letter to the community urging people who haven’t already, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The letter is endorsed by Dr. Joyce Lock, the medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health, along with 23 other physicians and health care professionals, including the CEOs of Woodstock, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg hospitals and their chiefs of staff.

Those who have also attached their names include clinic supervisors, nurse practitioners, mental health professionals and social housing executives.

The letter states that while residents have looked to their leadership for evidence-based information, they have turned to science to guide their recommendations for preventing COVID-19.

“Unfailingly, that research leads us to vaccination,” says the letter. It goes on to say that, “to date, there is nothing peer reviewed in a reputable journal that speaks against vaccination. The vaccines approved for use in Canada are overwhelmingly safe and effective. They protect the person who is vaccinated, but high numbers of vaccinated also protect those who haven’t had the vaccine due to their age or an allergy.”

The letter acknowledges that many are feeling “increasingly frustrated” that 18 months into the pandemic life is still not back to the way it was before COVID.

“Our message remains unchanged: get vaccinated if you have not yet done so, and continue to avoid enclosed spaces, crowded places, and close contact with others as much as possible. This is the best course of action to keep our schools, businesses, recreation facilities and places of worship open.”

The letter says it’s time to approach “frazzled front-line service workers with extra kindness,” and to reach out to those who are struggling.