Toronto needs about 336K more people to get double vaccinated in order to meet goal

Jules Mccusker receives a BioNTech Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Shauna Martiniuk, right, an emergency doctor with Mount Sinai Hospital, as Jowite Bydlowska, left, sits alongside him at a pop-up vaccination clinic run by the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health and the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Health, in Toronto, Saturday, April 10, 2021. The vaccination centre serves Toronto's Indigenous community. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ábout 336,000 people still need to roll up their sleeves in order for Toronto to meet its goal of a 90 per cent vaccination rate, officials say.

As of late Tuesday evening, about 78 per cent of eligible Toronto residents aged 12 and older are considered fully vaccinated with at least two doses of a vaccine. About 84 per cent have received their first dose.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, reiterated her intention to match the province’s target of a 90 per cent vaccination rate.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has repeatedly said that 90 per cent of eligible Ontarians must be fully vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of the Delta variant. Earlier this week he said he expects that process to take upwards of two months.

“At this point, the best way to preserve the flexibility in life that we have and to protect that large number of little people who can't yet be vaccinated, is to drive up vaccination levels, and adjust our contact with each other,” de Villa told reporters.

“Another reason, on an individual level, is that vaccination continues to be the best protection against ending up in hospital because of COVID-19.”

De Villa said that of 336,000 people who need to be fully vaccinated to meet the 90 per cent goal, about 164,000 have already received their first dose.

“We are laser focused on reaching this goal so that we can protect the great progress that we have made,” Mayor John Tory added while hinting at another day of action to encourage people to get the shot.

Officials also said that that Toronto has seen an 18 per cent increase in first dose vaccinations since Aug. 31.

“In fact, first doses administered on September 2 and September 3 were the highest we've seen in Toronto since July,” de Villa said. “This may have been a result of people getting vaccinated in anticipation of a return to the office, or the province announcing vaccination requirements to engage in different activities.”

According to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Toronto Public Health, about one in six residents (14 per cent) consider themselves to be vaccine hesitant. Of those respondents, eight per cent said they are unsure if they will get the shot in the future while six per cent said they would not get the vaccine at all.

The city says this represents a seven per cent decrease in hesitancy since residents were last surveyed in March.

The three top reasons people gave for not getting a vaccine is concern about potential side effects, potential negative long-term effects and trust in how quickly the vaccine was developed.

A total of 1,203 Toronto residents completed the online survey between July 30 and Aug. 10, yielding a margin of error of +/- 3.2 per cent nine times out of 10.

The survey also found that 64 per cent of parents of children under the age of 12 would vaccinate their kids once it becomes available.

MAJORITY OF RESIDENTS BELIEVE VACCINES SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR TRAVEL

Of those who responded to the Ipsos survey, 81 per cent agreed vaccine should be mandatory for those who want to travel outside of Canada. The number dropped to 80 per cent for those who wanted to attend large gatherings or events.

About 37 per cent of unvaccinated residents said they would be more likely to get the shot if it was mandatory for travel, the poll found.

One in five unvaccinated residents said they did not know how to book a vaccine using the online system while one third of unvaccinated residents said they will not get paid time off from their employer to get the shot.