Hamilton has Ontario’s 4th-worst COVID-19 vaccine uptake, but don’t blame GenXZeneca

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Published October 14, 2021 at 7:16 pm

Hamilton is one of four centres in Ontario where fewer than 80 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A pore through regional numbers, sorted by age group, also shows Hamilton is average to well below average with vaccine uptake among adults. Vaccine coverage for youths age 12 to 17 and young adults age 18 to 29, many of whom would require vaccination to attend post-secondary schools, are each in the middle of the provincewide tables from all 34 public health units in Ontario. Hamilton has the 16th-best uptake among 50-somethings.

However, all other adult age groups rank between 24th and 31st.

As of Thursday, per the Ontario government’s statistics, 79.25 per cent of the vaccine-eligible popultion in Hamilton was fully vaccinated. (Meantime, 84.26 per cent have had at least one dose.) The only public health units reporting lower vaccine series completion are Renfew County (78.33), Chatham-Kent (78.46) and Lambton County (78.75).

The updated data comes on the eve of a scheduled announcement Friday from Premier Doug Ford and Ontario chief medical officer of health Kieran Moore about the next steps in the province’s gradual reopening.

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark in southeastern Ontario is credited with the highest coverage at 93.03 per cent. Third boosters are counted in the total.

Vaccination against COVID-19, which has created a pandemic that is nearing its 20th month in Canada, was first opened to older adults and immunocompromised people who were at greater risk of hospitalization and death. Taking the age groups in reverse order, it appears that Hamilton had an okayish start with getting needles into the arms of the 80-and-over population, but has since struggled with uptake among people in their 60s and 70s:

  • Ages 80+: Hamilton is 24th provincially, at 95.37 per cent. Due to third boosters, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph is credited with 107 per cent coverage. The provincial low is Northwestern (86.84).
  • Ages 70 to 79: Hamilton is 30th, at 93.37. Huron-Perth (108.0) ranked first in the province’s stats, while Peel Region (86.86) is last at vaccinating the septuagenerian set.
  • Ages 60 to 69: With 87.80 per cent coverage, Hamilton ranks 31st, matching its overall rank. The aforementioned Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (104.5) is listed No. 1, and Lambton County (86.45) is last.
  • Ages 50 to 59: This Hamilton cohort ranks 16th, at 81.35 per cent. Adults in their early 50s were among those in the ‘GenXZeneca’ group who received Oxford AstraZeneca for their first dose in the spring, before it was removed from use in Ontario. That would have enabled many to receive their second dose sooner than the province initially had in mind.

    Neighbouring Halton Region is first in uptake among 50-something at 90.61 per cent, just less than one-10th of a percentage point ahead of second-placed Ottawa (90.5).

    Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge has the lowest coverage in the 50-to-59 group at 73.12. Neighbouring Peterborough, at 74.58, in second-last.

  • Ages 40 to 49: Hamilton (78.37 per cent) is 27th, although it ranks ahead of Toronto (76.2, 31st) and Peel Region (75.4, 33rd).

    Uptake among 40-something is as high as 91.13 per cent in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark and as low as 71.75 in Renfrew County.

  • Ages 30 to 39: 26th, The numbers mirror the immediate higher age group. Hamilton, at 73.57 per cent, is 26th. Leeds, Grenville & Lanark (90.45) is also first in this demo, and Renfrew (62.44) once again has nowhere to go but up.
  • Ages 18 to 29: Hamilton is up to 68.85 per cent, which ranks 20th.

    The youngest adult group has the widest variance between the best uptake and the lowest uptake. Waterloo Region (89.32) and Peel (88.62) are nearly to 90 per cent. But Chatham-Kent (60.2) is just toeing the 60-per-cent threshold.

  • Youth 12-17: 71.18 per cent coverage puts Hamilton 17th, right in the meaty part of the curve. Ottawa (87.03) is first, and Chatham-Kent (56.9).

    Oddly enough, Hamilton’s neighbours are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Halton is second at 86.18, while rural Haldimand-Norfolk is second from bottom at 57.46.

Sixty-five per cent of new COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario on Thursday, or 271-of-417, were in unvaccinated people.

It is believed that 90 per cent of the eligible population will need to be fully vaccinated in order to create herd immunity. Experts say that will reduce the potential for COVID-19 to cause sickness, ‘long COVID’ health effects, and death. Fewer hospitalizations also means the healthcare system is freer to treat other patients.

The full dataset is available at data.ontario.ca.

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