London, Ont. Mayor Ed Holder an ‘absolute believer’ in vaccine passports


The mayor of London, Ont., says if he had the jurisdiction he would introduce COVID-19 vaccine passports “in a heartbeat.”

Mayor Ed Holder’s comments on Monday come as the local rate of vaccination slows and the weekly rate of cases provincewide climbs.

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“I am an absolute believer in vaccine passports,” Holder said.

“Unfortunately, municipalities do not have the constitutional status where vaccine passports are concerned. I am hopeful, however, that the province or federal governments will act swiftly and do what’s best, and frankly, what appears inevitable.”

France and Italy are requiring vaccine passports. In Canada, Manitoba is requiring proof of immunization to be able to partake in some activities and services and Quebec has plans to follow suit, while British Columbia is not ruling out the idea.

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford reiterated late last week that the province is not planning to introduce a passport system. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has also rejected the concept.

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Meanwhile, Middlesex-London Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie said Monday that the province is at the beginning of a fourth wave of the pandemic, based on case counts, the number of tests coming back positive and the number of intensive care admissions.

The rising per cent positivity factor suggests that case counts are likely higher than reported.

“That means that part of the low case count is because of low testing. If we had the same number of people getting tested as we did a month or two ago, our case counts would be higher,” he explained.

“This just confirms we are going into a fourth wave and it begs the question of how severe that fourth wave will be.”

The per cent of COVID-19 tests in Ontario that came back positive in 2021 to date.

via Public Health Ontario

Mackie says people are less likely to get tested for COVID-19 over the summer and the health unit has also noticed a trend of people who are fully vaccinated choosing not to get tested.

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“It’s really important that people continue to get tested and that we don’t assume if we’ve got two doses that we are fully protected. We know that there have been breakthrough cases and people who have two doses can still spread the illness. It’s much less likely, but it still happens.”

In mid-July, Mackie stated that “essentially, we have a fourth wave of COVID right now that is moving through our unvaccinated population,” noting that almost all the cases recorded in the region were among the roughly one-fifth of the population that was entirely unvaccinated.

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The MLHU recently began to report the percentage of cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status.

According to the health unit, all deaths reported in the region since June 28 involved people who were entirely unvaccinated.

Most hospitalizations involved people who were unvaccinated, not yet protected from vaccination (infection occurred less than 14 days after the first dose) or partially vaccinated (infection occurred more than 14 days after the first dose but less than 14 days after the second dose). However, one case, representing 6.67 per cent of hospitalizations since June 28, involved someone who was fully vaccinated.

Of all cases reported since June 28, 7.05 per cent (or 21 cases) involve people who were fully vaccinated while 23.15 per cent (69 cases) involve people who were partially vaccinated.

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The rate at which the eligible population is getting vaccinated has also been slowing in recent weeks.

Throughout the month of July, the percentage of residents 12 and older who were fully vaccinated climbed from 34.8 per cent as of July 3 to 66.9 per cent as of July 31.

However, in that same timeframe, the percentage of those eligible with at least one dose moved from 76.7 per cent to 80.8 per cent.

While the rate of the percentage of residents 12 and older with at least one dose increased by roughly 1.1 to 1.2 percentage points weekly for most of last month, it increased by only 0.7 percentage points in the last week of July.

The rate of the increase in the percentage of residents who were fully immunized slowed more dramatically from an 11.5 percentage point increase in the first week of July to a 4.1 percentage point increase in the last week of July.

— With files from Global News’ Brittany Greenslade and The Canadian Press’s Ross Marowits.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.