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Public Health Ontario says herd immunity not possible until young children get vaccinated

Ontario won’t be able to hit COVID-19 herd immunity without a vaccine approved for those under 12 years of age.

According to an evidence brief released by Public Health Ontario about a month ago, the province’s original three-step reopening plan was created in the context of the Alpha variant being dominant. 

Officials say under the original targets of 75 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated, and no public health unit with less than 70 percent fully vaccinated, some regions of the province may have significant groups of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals where Delta or other strains could easily spread.

However, with the more transmissible Delta variant now the dominant strain and the higher risk of illness with just one vaccine dose, vaccine targets needed to exit the Roadmap are now estimated to be at least 90 percent of the Ontario population, and over 100 percent of the current vaccine-eligible population.

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Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said in his Tuesday update that he expects Ontario to hit that 90 percent target by spring 2022. 

Currently, those 12 and younger make up over 11 percent of the province’s population but are still not eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

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