The rapid spread of the worrying variant of Omicron in Ottawa prompts the local public health unit to put all available hands back on its mass vaccination campaign in an effort to bring as many COVID-19 booster vaccines as possible to the arms of the residents.
Ottawa health medical officer Dr. Vera Etches said in a letter to city councilors Wednesday that the Omicron variant is to blame for the increase in people testing positive for COVID-19 in the city.
OPH said Tuesday that Omicron is overwhelming its contact markers and asked Ottawa residents who test positive to inform their own high-risk contacts about the need to isolate themselves and get tested.
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“Unfortunately, these pressures are not expected to ease anytime soon as cases are likely to continue to increase with the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant,” Etches said.
While the worrisome variant of Omicron appears to be spreading faster than Delta and other strains of the virus, Etches said in his statement that the mRNA vaccine protection remains effective, especially with a booster shot given six months after the second dose.
OPH is now shifting its resources to vaccinate as many eligible residents as possible, especially the 283,000 residents age 50 and older who do not yet have a third dose.
The health unit has already rushed to post more than 12,000 additional vaccination appointments for ages 12 and older in the past two days after all available slots through the new year were closed when residents 50 and older became eligible. for reinforcements Monday morning.
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The city’s emergency operations center, which suspended most of its urgent operations over the summer, is now being scaled back to the “activated” level used to coordinate the city’s initial pandemic response and vaccination campaign. massive, a campaign that began exactly one year ago with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine administered locally at the Ottawa Hospital.
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OPH employees working throughout the organization have been involved in the immunization effort, Etches said, and the health unit is reaching out to doctors and other providers for as much help as possible in the vaccination push.
“OPH is in the process of modifying the existing immunization strategy to deliver doses to as many people as possible, as soon as possible,” Etches said.
“The OPH will provide additional information on the changes to the immunization strategy in the coming days, once the details are confirmed.”
The Ontario government cabinet will also meet Wednesday to discuss efforts to expand the booster dose strategy after Prime Minister Doug Ford met with other Prime Ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss response measures from Omicron on a call Tuesday night.
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