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York Region pushes first-dose vaccinations in wake of booking 'slowdown'

Region stalled on progressing percentage of people with first vaccine dose
July 14, 2021
Joseph Quigley

York Region is pushing for more people to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose as it hits a “slowdown” in appointments.

The region opened up many of its clinics for walk-ins for appointments July 12, including the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex. The move comes as first-dose vaccination rates have petered out, with 78.9 per cent of eligible residents (12+) having received at least one dose as of July 8 -- a 1.1 per cent increase since June 28.

York’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Richard Gould urged residents to check frequently for appointments on the region’s website.

“We are currently experiencing a slowdown in appointment bookings. However, we urge residents to check our website regularly for openings to book new appointments,” Gould said in a July 12 update.

York Region is releasing 58,000 appointments combined for both first and second doses July 13.

The region peaked with 20,675 doses administered June 30, but has administered 14,000 to 16,000 doses daily throughout the month of July. However, most of the doses being administered are now second doses, with first doses at 1,100 to 1,300 daily throughout July. Approximately 55 per cent of York Region residents age 12 and over have received two doses as of July 8.

“It remains critically important for all those who have not yet received vaccines to get one as soon as possible,” Gould said.

The region is targeting vaccine hesitancy with targeted information campaigns and pop-up clinics. Gould said these pop-up clinics have had success in places such as Aurora and East Gwillimbury.

“York Region continues to explore future opportunities for pop-up clinics in our communities,” he said.

He encouraged residents to book an earlier second dose appointment, and not to wait for a vaccine second dose that matches their first. York is limiting adults to Moderna vaccine until at least July 18, but Gould said having a different mRNA vaccine brand for your second dose is safe.

“Please get vaccinated,” Gould said. “It remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you.”