Although Canada has been successful in getting vaccines into its arms so far, there is increasing pressure to reach those who have been left behind — people who have yet to receive a dose of the vaccine, either because of a lack of access or a lack of confidence.
The number epidemiologists are watching closely now is 68.5 percent – the proportion of Canadians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. These people are more likely to get a second dose.
But the remaining 31.5 percent is what epidemiologist Riwat Diwanandan is focusing on.
“People who do not have a first dose yet, [it’s] Maybe because they don’t want to or they can’t access it. “Those who don’t want it matter to me,” he said.
“We care about the unvaccinated people because those are the susceptible populations. In epidemiology, the susceptible population drives the likelihood of waves.”
Dionadan, who is also an associate professor of health sciences at the University of Ottawa, said Canada should aim to get injections in at least 85 percent of the population. Otherwise, the status quo leaves a high possibility that we may face future waves of COVID-19.
Who are the naysayers?
Some of these people may not be able to get a vaccine, because they are too young or ineligible for other reasons, such as an allergy or a health condition. Then there are the people who fall into the category that Dionandan calls “hard-line anti-vaccination for whom it is some kind of religion.” He said that these people probably could not be affected.
The remaining population of fence-sitters is where public health and community regulators focus their attention.
These people have not yet been vaccinated for a variety of reasons — they may not have a car, they may not have access to child care, or they may be dealing with language and technology barriers that prevent them from navigating the health system. Some are homeless or marginalized in a way that makes them less trusting of government institutions.
Bringing vaccines to the streets
To make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine has access to the vaccine, advocates like David Chapman have stepped up.
Chapman is the executive director of Resilience Montreal, a shelter that accepts clients who will be denied entry to other facilities due to drug use.
Many of the shelter’s clients suffer from mental health challenges in addition to addiction issues, which makes them especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. That’s why delivering vaccines to this community was so important.
He does his best to let the nurses know in advance, so they know what to expect.
“Today one of our clients was arguing with a nurse in the clinic that this is a sign of the end of the world, and therefore the vaccine should be avoided,” he said.
“The poor nurse engaged him for a while, but I think in the end she decided that maybe that argument would be hard to win.”
While not everyone wants to roll up their sleeves, the three clinics hosted by Resilience have been a hit, providing nearly 150 snapshots since January.
“What we’re aiming for is to see the highest proportion of the homeless population get the dose,” Chapman said.
Using TikTok to share small volume information
In Ontario, the provincial government is shifting its focus from group clinics to doctors’ offices and pharmacies to try to reach more people.
More than 50 percent of adults in the county have been fully vaccinated, and officials estimate that another 10 to 15 percent of adults in the county may be open to the injection.
While on the ground, the province is changing its strategy to reach these people, Dr. Nahid Dosani is turning to social media to get the message across.
“It’s just about meeting people where they are,” said Dosani, who is a palliative care physician in Toronto.
Dosani has shared information about vaccines and the pandemic on his TikTok channel, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.
“It has always been my firm belief that a large percentage of people are unable to listen to the daily midday press conferences,” he said.
“It’s really critical that we create information that is small enough to accommodate people on the platforms they know and love.”
Other barriers to why some are not involved include challenging cultural and linguistic divides – some people are unfamiliar with how to navigate the health care system because they are new to Canada, while others are less confident in its institutions due to a history of systemic racism.
“Years and centuries of distrust of the system have gone by,” said Sharon Nelson, vice president of the Jamaica Association in Montreal.
Distrust has contributed to Vaccine frequency high among black Canadians compared to the larger audience.
She said a big part of their job is to encourage thoughtful conversations and help people access the right information when they have questions.
“We’re educating people about it, but we’re not trying to convince them necessarily,” Nelson said.
As part of this effort, the Jamaica Society in Montreal has invited some doctoral students to give a lecture in their community about vaccines and how they work. The key, she said, is for community members to get information from people and organizations they can trust.
“It’s not just a white thing or an Asian thing or an Indigenous thing,” she said. “This thing affects all of us and we all have a role to play.”
Nelson is also working on trying to find solutions for undocumented Montreals who want to get vaccinated but are nervous about being asked to document.
Vaccines on the go: the Montreal Vaccine
Such concerns are the exact reason Montreal sent Vaccivan — a mobile vaccination clinic that has been traveling to Montreal’s community centers, parks and places of worship, in an effort to increase the numbers of low-consumer neighborhoods.
If you don’t have a file [health] The card is not a problem. “We’ll give you the vaccine,” said Lucy Tremblay, director of nursing and vaccination at Montreal’s Western Regional Health Agency, and CIUSSS du Center-Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal.
Tremblay said all kinds of people have benefited from Vaccivan for a variety of reasons, but the most important thing is the convenience.
“The first day we went out, there was no announcement, maybe half an hour later, there was lineup,” she said. “And people would call their friends. It was a social gathering at the same time it was a vaccination clinic.”
A big priority for her is trying to get vaccinations for the 12-35-year-old demographic.
“As a young adult, you often have family obligations – you work, you need to go pick up the kids at daycare, you have a million things to do,” she said.
“If you see Vaccivan in the park where you’re having a picnic, for example, that’s a great opportunity to get vaccinated.”
Such proactive efforts will make a difference in helping the country reach a point where COVID-19 can finally return to Canadians’ minds.
“Are we going to get to a point where we have herd immunity? We’re going to get to a point where we don’t have to think about this disease anymore and public health can deal with the small upheavals in the community that it causes,” Deonandan said. Epidemiologist.
“We have an adequate supply of vaccines. It is a matter of political will and public participation.”
Present20:09Intensify efforts to reach vulnerable communities