Ontarians have much to look forward to and be optimistic about this summer.
All the work the Ontario public, essential workers and front-line health-care workers have done during the pandemic, by following public health guidelines and getting themselves vaccinated, is finally starting to pay off. This is why it’s more important than ever to continue following the remaining pandemic restrictions.
Ontario’s doctors appreciate the sacrifices this has meant for everyone and the devastating losses to many families. But as we approach the first long weekend of summer, more than 75 per cent of adults in Ontario have received one COVID-19 shot and 34 per cent have had two. The number of people being infected by the virus, hospitalized and dying are all dropping.
“Ontario’s continuing trend of increasing vaccinations and decreasing hospitalizations should give us hope and optimism for the future,” said OMA President Dr. Adam Kassam. “While we race toward a crucial two-dose summer, we are thrilled that Ontarians will be able to spend time with friends and family and reconnect with their loved ones.”
The OMA encourages anyone who has not received their first vaccination or who requires a second to do so as soon as possible. This is especially important for youths ages 12-17 whose vaccination rates have been lower than expected. Parents or anyone with questions about vaccines should talk to their family doctor, pediatrician or public health unit, who all have a critical role to play in explaining the benefits of vaccines and administering them.
The possible spread of the highly infectious and more severe Delta variant of the virus remains a concern, although the risks drop as more people are vaccinated. Vaccinations are the way out of the pandemic.
To ensure the third wave of the pandemic is the last significant wave, the OMA urges everyone to continue to follow public health guidelines such as those released by the Public Health Agency of Canada spelling out what is safe behaviour for people who are fully vaccinated compared with those who are partly or not vaccinated.
Doctors also urge everyone to be familiar with what exactly is permitted when the province moves to Step 2 of its reopening strategy on Wednesday. The OMA is encouraged to see the province continues to move cautiously in its reopening plan and is following the scientific evidence.
“Now is not the time to let down our guards when we have come so far to respond to this pandemic as a community,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “By continuing to follow public health measures and getting vaccinated, you will allow the health-care system to respond to the significant number of patients needing critical services that have been delayed for so long.”
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