Gov’t calls unvaccinated
Canada has reached a vaccination rate of 71 per cent of the population now fully vaccinated, shows the latest health data, thanks to vax vans, mobile clinics and pop-up shots in community centres, arenas and churches.
But millions of Canadians remain who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, due to barriers to access or because they are hesitant or resistant.
In Ontario, that number is nearly two million people, according to the latest population figures, and based on a vaccination rate of 83 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.
Now, the unvaccinated in the province can expect a call from the health department.
“Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) wants to inform the public that these calls are legitimate and urges the public to take the opportunity to gain information about the vaccine and to make an appointment for their shot,” the Oct. 14th statement said. Just over 80 per cent of people in the region — 81.3 per cent — are fully vaccinated.
The Ontario Ministry of Health confirms the calls are part of a vaccine outreach campaigns by the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre and are targetting anyone with a health card — but without a vaccination.
“This includes a campaign that is currently ongoing to offer first doses. These calls are from live agents and are only to offer information and an opportunity to book an appointment,” a Ministry spokesperson confirmed in an email.
To reach the unvaccinated, the government is tapping into databases of contact information provided to the Ministry of Health when registering for or renewing a health card, as well as databases “containing information pertaining to vaccines already administered to persons in Ontario,” Anna Miller, a spokesperson with the ministry explained.
“The Ministry of Health has the authority under section 37(1)(c) of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 to use and link the information from these databases for planning and delivering the COVID-19 vaccination program.
“This includes contacting individuals to encourage vaccination,” Miller said.
Other outreach programs in Ontario and elsewhere in the country have ramped up to reach the final groups of unvaccinated, targeting areas with vulnerable populations or low vaccination rates.
Mobile vaccine units, vax vans and pop-up clinics have gone into vulnerable communities in Ontario and elsewhere in the country to make it easier for those facing language, technological or other barriers to getting their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Montreal, vaccine vans hit parks this summer to reach youth and families with the vaccines. British Columbia also launched a widespread Vax for B.C. outreach program in mid-summer, and is now targetting specific areas with high rates of COVID cases, such as the Fraser Valley.
Other initiatives, such as the growing number of employers adopting vaccine mandates, along with vaccine passport programs in some provinces, have also helped the campaign to get more people vaccinated and end the pandemic.
One of the last remaining community centres that have yet to be conscripted in the nationwide vaccine campaign are schools, which have been used in the past to help administer vaccine shots to children. It remains to be seen if, once a COVID vaccine is approved for under 12s, schools will be used again as a site for shots.