'Incredible milestone:' experts, Ottawa residents react to vaccine landmark
Health-care worker Thi Nguyen administers Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at a COVID-19 clinic in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s high vaccination rate has given residents in this city a feeling of what life was like before the pandemic.
With 90 per cent of residents twelve and over in Ottawa now with at least one dose, we’re hearing about the term 'herd immunity’ again.
But when do we reach that?
From no-capacity limit sports games like the Ottawa Senators; to concerts and events, with shows like ‘Hamilton,’ opening to a full crowd in January, it’s a glimpse of a pre-pandemic world.
Mikhail and Leolid Tsirlin are planning on attending this weekend’s Sens’ game — it’s their first in two years, “pretty excited for that; haven’t been in a while,” says Mikhail.
“We are fully vaccinated; so, obviously I think it’s a step in the right direction - that only people who are fully vaccinated are allowed,” says Leolid.
They’re one of many who feel more comfortable in doing so; with Ottawa reaching a new vaccination milestone,
“It’s an incredible milestone to reach, and it’s really now above 90-percent for first doses; why that’s important, is that we know that everybody who gets a first dose, get their second dose,” says Dr. Gerald Evans, an infectious disease specialist with Queen’s University. “What that means is there’s going to be so many people vaccinated in Ottawa, that the virus is going to have a lot more difficult time getting transmitted around.”
Evans says that the number of those vaccinated to hit ‘herd-immunity’ is dependant on how transmissible the virus is.
“With Delta variant, it’s gone much higher; and that’s when we’re looking at numbers over 90 percent,”
He adds that things like wearing masks and avoiding crowded indoor spaces also reduce the transmissibility of the virus; but, overall — we’ll see milder cases for most people,
“What we’re going to see is a much milder disease, we’re going to see most fully vaccinated people, when they get covid - they’ll be unwell; they’ll probably have a bad ‘man cold.” he says, “Hopefully that will be all that they will notice and we won’t see as much push in hospitalizations and icu stresses within the system. There will still be people who will get very sick, and that’s because the primary determinant of how badly you do with this particular viral infection, is how old you are.”
And that’s good news for most, including small businesses like restaurants and event spaces,
“Right now, I truly hope that we are moving forward, and this is the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Michael Wood, small business advocate. “I think most people now know, with those statistics, that moving forward, there is more safety in going to these places; and i think more people feel comfortable.”
Some, like Faiz Ali are still cautious; he’s still not ready to the idea of attending a packed arena.
“I’m not too comfortable, mostly because I feel that people are getting a little loose now, and they’re letting go of things before they’re vaccinated.”