Uptick in Chatham-Kent vaccinations on first day following vaccine passport announcement

Chatham-Kent Public Health building in Chatham, Ont. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

Chatham-Kent’s Medical Health Officer said Ontario’s vaccine passports will be the final push to get people vaccinated.

“Once people realize it makes sense, it will start to get better,” said Dr. David Colby.

Colby believed people will get vaccinated once they realize it is necessary to travel, dine indoors or work out in a gym.

He compared the program to smoking regulations, and recalled initial complaints from business people about losing customers, “and now no one thinks about lighting up a cigarette in a restaurant.”

Colby added the idea was to develop a simple process for people to prove they are fully vaccinated; a program, which is up and running in Quebec.

He also thought the program had already proven itself, and pointed out 360 people showed up to a vaccine pop up clinic on Wednesday, “we’ve never had that many people for a single pop up clinic.”

“We have heard from some restaurant owners anxious from some direction on this matter,” said Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire.

Shropshire and Colby said enforcement will be shared by authorities but mostly handled by by-law officers.

Both agree the measure could help prevent another lockdown as cases appear to be on the rise from the delta variant which Colby characterized as “hyper transmittable.”

The CEO of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance added the hospital is caring for 8 active cases of COVID, with 2 patients in ICU.

Lori Marshall said none of the patients was fully vaccinated.