Manitoulin scores highest vaccination rates in the North

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Over 80 percent of population over age 12 has at least one shot against COVID injection

MANITOULIN – COVID-19 vaccination rates on Manitoulin Island continue to surpass provincial rates.

At the Manitoulin COVID-19 Leadership Coordination Committee last week, representatives of Public Health Sudbury and District (PHSD) confirmed that the vaccination rate on Manitoulin Island is at over 80 percent of residents having received a first dose. 

“This is higher than the provincial average, and it is worth celebrating,” a leadership committee release noted. “Congratulations, Manitoulin residents!”

Tracy Weatherbe, manager of the health promotion division of PHSD told The Expositor last week, “I checked yesterday and as of July 7, 82.7 percent of all people eligible on Manitoulin Island 12 years of age and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, which is fabulous.”

“This is compared to the provincial average rate of 77.4 percent overall (for all) Ontario residents,” said Ms. Weatherbe. 

And the news continues to be good, said Ms. Weatherbe. “We know that approximately 60.9 percent of residents on Manitoulin Island have been fully vaccinated.” 

Ms. Weatherbe continued, “we want to encourage everyone who has received their first vaccine and are eligible to book their appointment for a second dose as early as they can. People can book their appointments online. And we are providing walk in clinic opportunities. Over the next three weeks walk-in clinics will be provided at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) (on Tuesdays) later in the afternoon.” She pointed out there are a limited number of vaccines available for those opting to take part in the walk-in clinics. “We have had good turnouts for the walk-in clinics for those receiving their first or second vaccination.” 

“We would really like to get the word out about the walk-in clinics,” continued Ms. Weatherbe. “This will appeal to those individuals who have very busy schedules.”

Ms. Weatherbe told The Expositor, “I have been supporting the vaccination clinic roll for the past six months and have had the opportunity to work with so many fantastic volunteers, health care workers, municipalities, First Nations, hospitals, basically everyone who has had a part in this. We appreciate having had such dedicated parties involved.” 

On Monday, PHSD announced another tool in its vaccination arsenal. Starting Tuesday, July 13 a mobile clinic will travel to locations in the health unit’s service area, including Manitoulin, to offer COVID-19 vaccinations. The mobile clinic, a converted transit bus, will hit the road to operate throughout the summer. Current locations are planned for the weeks of July 12 and 19. Dates as to when the mobile clinic will visit Manitoulin were not available as of press time Monday.

The Manitoulin COVID-19 Leadership Coordination Committee met for its biweekly meeting on July 6.  “Leadership remarked there has been an increase of visitors to the Island largely due to the summer season having started. However, businesses, residents, and others on the Island are generally respecting public health guidance, including social distancing and the wearing of masks.”