Vaccine demand rises in Simcoe Muskoka following vaccine certificate announcement

The number of Simcoe Muskoka residents heading to Barrie's RVH COVID-19 immunization clinic is up since the province made it mandatory to be vaccinated to access certain facilities.

Staff at the Barrie clinic say previously hesitant residents are rolling up their sleeves for their shot before the vaccine certificate takes effect on Sept. 22.

"The last few days at Sperling Drive have been very interesting. We have seen double the amount of dose-ones," said Amy Wardell, RVH clinic testing and immunization manager.

Wardell said the feeling appears to be one of reluctance among many residents getting their first dose.

"We're hearing a lot of our clients this week really stating that they're here because they have to be," she noted.

Wardell said the RVH clinic sees around 500 people per day, and at least half of those are for first doses.

A complete list of what will and won't be accessible without a vaccine certificate is available here.

VALID MEDICAL EXEMPTIONS

Only residents who have an allergic reaction to a vaccine component or who suffered myocarditis or pericarditis after the first vaccine dose will be considered medically exempt.

The province said an allergy to the vaccine's ingredients would have to be confirmed by an allergist or immunologist.

Staff at the Sperling Drive clinic reported a 20 per cent jump in the number of people wanting a first-dose.

"I think some people are feeling a bit pressured that they need to come and get it. We really try to reinforce that it's still their choice," said registered practical nurse Shari Sherwood.

Sherwood administers the vaccine at the Sperling clinic. She said there had been a lot of questions regarding the shot and the recently announced vaccine certificate.

"Some people have left and come back," she added.

VACCINE CERTIFICATE

On Sept. 22, the Ontario government will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status, plus photo ID, to access certain indoor businesses.

More details on the vaccination certificate program are available here.

Ontario's health minister took to social media Friday to say province-wide vaccinations had increased.

"Yesterday, Ontario administered 43,855 doses, the most shots in two weeks. Almost half were first doses as more people roll up their sleeves< tweeted Christine Elliott.

Elliott added that vaccine appointment bookings on the provincial system nearly doubled on Thursday from one week ago.