Official expects pushback from business owners unwilling to comply with vaccine certificate
With just hours to go until the province's vaccine certificate program comes into effect, York Region's medical officer of health expects to see some pushback from business owners.
"We may well get some businesses that might perhaps decide not to comply," says Dr. Karim Kurji.
Kurji says the region will take an educational approach rather than enforcement for those businesses that don't comply with Wednesdays' newly added safety measure. However, he believes it would benefit all businesses to abide by the rule because "it would avoid lockdowns."
"It really benefits unvaccinated individuals as well as most of the transmission is amongst them, and it would also keep vaccinated individuals safer," he notes. "We would urge people who haven't yet been vaccinated to consider vaccination as COVID-19 is here to stay for quite a while."
According to the York Region health unit, most of its cases right now are from large gatherings with unvaccinated individuals where there's less masking, including weddings and engagement parties and after-school programs, such as karate classes and dance classes.
Statistics show just over 85 per cent of the eligible population in the region have rolled up their sleeves at least once, while nearly 81 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The region continues to push to get as many shots into as many arms as possible by launching vaccine clinics within the school system and increasing its hubs, including a new location in Richmond Hill.
"We are vaccinating about four to five thousand individuals a week, with respect to their first dose and another 10,000 a week with respect to their second doses," Kurji adds.
While most health officials believe having 90 per cent of people vaccinated could mean herd immunity, Kurji thinks if vaccination rates don't climb to the levels needed, "we may not be done at all with COVID-19" following the fourth wave.
"We could even be seeing a fifth and a sixth wave," he says. "So it is very important that we pull up our socks and get vaccinated."