Humber River Hospital vaccinates 1,500 in 2 days as city says vaccine hesitancy dropping in Toronto

Humber River Hospital says its clinic has vaccinated about 1,500 people against COVID-19 in the last two days and one doctor there says many people are realizing that getting inoculated might help to prevent another lockdown.

About half of those immunized at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday received their first doses.

Dr. Amin Ladak, a member of the hospital’s family health team, says the hospital has noticed an increase in vaccinations following the Sept. 1 announcement by the Ontario government that it will implement a vaccine certificate system.

Before the announcement, the percentage of people getting their first doses at the hospital was less than 20 per cent.

“The last thing we want to do is go back to another lockdown,” Ladak said Wednesday.

“Having mandates in place helps people get over that hurdle to get vaccinated and then it gives us the opportunity to avoid another lockdown, which I don’t think any of us want.” 

Ladak said the increase also follows announcements by individual establishments in Ontario, including workplaces, restaurants, entertainment venues and post-secondary institutions, that proof of vaccination will soon be required to enter their premises.

The hospital’s clinic was vaccinating about 300 to 400 people a day in August, when it slowed down. But now, the pace has picked back up and the clinic is now “doing better.” However, it is not vaccinating as many people as it was in May, June and July, when it was vaccinating 2,000 to 3,000 people a day, he said.

At that time, there were lineups outside around the block.

“Even though there are fewer pods, we are still getting good numbers. I think it’s doing okay. I would like it to be more,” Ladak said.

1 in 6 residents still hesitant, city says

On Wednesday, Toronto Public Health (TPH) reported an increase of 18 per cent in first-dose vaccinations administered to city residents from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6.

TPH said the seven-day moving average for the first week in September shows a slight uptick in first doses administered from Sept. 1 to 5. The dose counts on Sept. 2 and 3, for example, marked the highest number of first doses administered in Toronto since late July.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said on Wednesday: “This may have been a result of people getting vaccinated in anticipation of a return to the office or the province’s announcement on proof of vaccination requirements to engage in different activities.”

The increase comes as new data from an Ipsos survey shows there has been a seven-per-cent drop in vaccine hesitancy since residents were last surveyed in March 2021. The data suggests 81 per cent of surveyed Toronto residents reported receiving either one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at the time of the survey in August.

According to De Villa, about one in six residents, or 14 per cent, can be considered vaccine hesitant. That number includes six per cent who said they will definitely not get vaccinated and eight per cent who said they are unsure if they will get the shots in the future.

“The vaccines are safe, proven and highly effective. In short, they work,” De Villa added.

Brianna Alleyne, 17, who is going into her last year of high school, shows off the bandaid on her arm after she got her second dose. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)

For Andre Lewis and his son Zyon Lewis, 12, it made sense to get vaccinated on Wednesday. Andre got his second dose, while Zyon got his first.

“I’m happy to be fully vaccinated and I’m happy that he has the opportunity so he can get his first dose as well,” Andre said of his son.

Zyon said he was “excited” to get vaccinated. “My cousin has it and I wanted to get it,” he said.

Vaccination means: “I could go to the movies,” he added.

Support for vaccine certificates on rise: survey

According to a new Angus Reid survey, support for a proof-of-vaccine certificate is on the rise across Canada, whether it is needed for large events or venues such as restaurants and gyms or at workplaces.

In Ontario, that approval has jumped 20 per cent since May. And for large events, 80 per cent of people are in favour. 

Note: CBC News cannot accurately calculate a margin of error for methodologies with online surveys. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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