Aim high—stay low! Public Health Sudbury & Districts launching area-wide challenge for high vaccination rates and low COVID-19 case counts

With the province today moving to Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is calling on everyone in the area to aim high and stay low! This means getting vaccination rates as high as possible and keeping COVID-19 cases as low as possible. The path forward out of Step 3 requires low case counts and immunization rates for Ontarians aged 12 and older of at least 80% for one dose and 75% for two doses; no public health unit can have a two-dose rate lower than 70%. The rates for Public Health Sudbury & Districts are currently at 79.0% for one dose and 60.9% for two doses. In the wake of the more infectious Delta variant spreading in Ontario, Public Health is launching an area-wide challenge to go even further. Public Health is aiming for a target of 90% of those 12 and older to be fully vaccinated.

“We are issuing a call to everyone who still needs a first dose and all those whose second doses are due—what are you waiting for? Book now or show up at one of our convenient walk-in, pop-up, or mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Don’t delay,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “We are so fortunate that vaccine supply is no longer an issue. We are tracking to have enough vaccine to offer two doses to every eligible individual in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts by end of August. And if you have your two doses already—great news—you can still help by talking to family, friends, and neighbours about their motivation for vaccination,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

While locally vaccination rates have reduced the number of new cases being reported, the virus still poses a threat. The Delta variant is the most common virus strain circulating in Ontario. It is more transmissible and causes more serious disease, the vaccine is also less effective against this variant, requiring two doses for a protective immune response.

“Because the Delta variant of the virus is more transmissible, vaccination rates need to be as high as possible. High rates of vaccination mean that we will be less dependent on other measures to keep us safe, such as distancing, masking, and limits in our favourite stores, movie theatres, gyms, and restaurants,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “The recent surges in cases in the Waterloo and Grey Bruce regions are reminders of how quickly things can change,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

There are certain populations, for example based on medical conditions or age, who are unable to get vaccinated or who will not be fully protected if they are. Public Health Sudbury & Districts reminds everyone that it is up to those of us who can be vaccinated to protect others.

Individuals must book their second dose appointment

The provincial online booking system for COVID-19 vaccination automatically books a second dose appointment 112 days (16 weeks) after the first dose. This second dose appointment is not valid. Individuals must book their second dose appointments after receiving their first dose. There is enough vaccine to mean that the 112 day wait for the second dose is no longer needed.

Over the coming weeks, Public Health will notify clients of the cancellation for their original 112 day, automatically-scheduled second dose appointment. This notice will be by email and robocall. Individuals must book their second dose appointment after receiving their first dose—it cannot be done before getting your first dose.

If you have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and are waiting for your appointment scheduled 112 days (16 weeks) later, you must visit covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine or call 705.674.2299 (toll-free: 1.800.708.2505) to book an appointment for a second dose. The original appointment will be cancelled.

If you have an upcoming appointment for a first dose of COVID-19, you must wait until it is administered before you can book an appointment for your second dose. Public Health is planning to have staff available at our clinics to assist clients book their second dose.

Anyone 12 and over can also choose to attend our pop-up, walk-in, or mobile clinics with no appointment to receive their second dose at a minimum of 21 days after their first dose for Pfizer-BioNTech or minimum of 28 days for Moderna. In addition, individuals can also visit covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations for pharmacies or contact their primary care providers to see if they offer vaccination against COVID-19. For the most up-to-date vaccination opportunities offered by Public Health in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts, visit phsd.ca/COVID-19/vaccine-clinics. Near the end of the summer, Public Health will begin ramping down our mass immunization clinics.

By the numbers*

To date, 107 041 residents 12 and over in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now fully vaccinated.

  • 100.0% of individuals aged 80 and over have received their first dose and 96.3% have received their second dose.
  • 92.3% of individuals aged 60 to 79 have received their first dose and 83.0% have received their second dose.
  • 74.5% of individuals aged 40 to 59 have received their first dose and 57.2% have received their second dose.
  • 60.6% of individuals 18 to 39 have received their first dose and 39.6% have received their second dose.
  • 55.2% of individuals aged 12 to 17 have received their first dose and 18.6% have received their second dose.
  • 66.2% of Chapleau residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
  • 57.9% of Greater Sudbury residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
  • 51.0% of Lacloche Foothills residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
  • 41.8% of Manitoulin Island residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
  • 48.2% of Sudbury East residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
  • Since January 1, 2021, Public Health Sudbury & Districts has hosted 779 COVID-19 vaccination events.

*Rates are based on 2020 population projections from the Ministry of Finance (2018).

Vaccine interchangeability

If your first vaccine was an mRNA vaccine, you can get either mRNA vaccine for your second dose. All Public Health-led clinics offer mRNA vaccines. Details about which mRNA vaccine is planned for upcoming Public Health clinics are available at phsd.ca and is subject to change based on vaccine availability. The decision to allow interchangeable mRNA second doses was approved by Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). It was made based on studies from the UK, Spain & Germany that have found that mixing vaccines is safe and produces a strong immune response. Vaccine brands are mixed often in health care practice. Interchanging vaccines is safe, effective and enables more individuals to receive their second dose sooner.

With more options available now to get the vaccine, including mobile, pop-up, and walk-in clinics, and through pharmacies and primary care, more and more people continue to get their first dose—it is not too late.

For questions and to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to trusted sources such as Public Health immunizers at COVID-19 vaccine clinics, health care providers and pharmacists. For more information, visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).