By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
One shot at a time, Chatham-Kent Public Health continues to move the needle forward on the municipality’s vaccine uptake.
According to Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby, continued education alongside an array of pop-up clinics, are combining for about a one-per-cent increase each week.
The number of active COVID-19 cases has been steadily decreasing in recent weeks and as of Monday, sat at 70 people.
“We seem to be past the peak getting the wave under control,” Colby told a recent media call, adding the vaccine push will continue.
“It’s improving tremendously,” Colby explained, adding it’s no secret that Chatham-Kent has been somewhat of a COVID-19 “hotspot,” with some of the lowest vaccination rates in Ontario.
Combatting misinformation about the virus and the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is an ongoing challenge for CKPH, being made all the more challenging by the anti-vaccine, anti-mask messaging coming from Chatham-Kent–Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls.
Nicholls, who was removed from the Progressive Conservation caucus by Premier Doug Ford for refusing the vaccine, continues to spread his anti-COVID-19 vaccine message on Twitter.
Recent tweets from Nicholls state that “Main Street media” isn’t covering the “groundswell of support” against vaccine mandates.
In a lengthy video posted on his Twitter account, Nicholls continues to call the vaccine an “experimental drug” with serious side effects.
Colby said he and Nicholls have known each other for a long time and maintain a “cordial” relationship, but have “agreed to disagree” on the vaccine issue.
Colby said the public needs to base their decisions on “credible scientific sources” instead of relying on people without credentials.
A person has a better chance of getting struck by lightning than of suffering a serious reaction to the vaccine, Colby said.