The postal code with the lowest vaccination rate in the province is N5H, located in the town of Aylmer, Ontario. Just over half of the eligible population received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Residents of the city seem divided on their views, as do other communities across the country. Some residents who spoke to CBC News said language barriers, religious beliefs and lack of education are the biggest challenges in getting the community vaccinated.
“A lot of our newcomers don’t speak English very well and get their information through social media, so they don’t have access to some of the same data as we could,” said Eddy Rempel, Executive Director of Mennonite Community Services. (MSC), which helps integrate newcomers who speak Low German.
Reluctance to vaccinate existed in some communities long before the virus emerged, he said.
John Hueston, president of the Aylmer Express newspaper, agrees that education is a challenge. He said it was difficult for the city to get specific information about the virus and its transmission to the general public.
Hueston is pointing fingers at people in positions of authority who promote misinformation about the severity of the virus and myths about vaccine safety.
“This low vaccination rate is nothing new here. Our schools are notoriously among the worst vaccination rates and that reputation has continued in COVID-19, so it shouldn’t be surprising that we have a bigger problem with it. a whole new disease and vaccines that no one understands or that no one has seen the results of, ”he added.
Disseminate precise information
In order to combat the low immunization rate, health units and community groups are doing everything possible to convey specific messages to residents.
“Our role is to create the conditions and relationships that encourage and support people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health for Southwestern Public Health.
“We try to make sure that our information is timely, in plain language and that it is translated into the languages spoken by various members of the community and we work with trustworthy people who these people can turn to,” said she declared.
Resident Allene Scott said those attending the “rallies for freedom” do not represent the views of all city residents. “If you walk through Aylmer, you will see ‘Aylmer cares’ and ‘Wear a mask’ posters on people’s lawns. A lot of people are compliant.
At MCS, Rempel explains that their regional radio show broadcasts regular public health updates, translating them into Low German.
“The reception has been quite varied, in many cases it makes a difference when people hear a different opinion than those around them. But in other cases, he said,” it doesn’t really change. nothing”.
Lock adds that getting rid of hesitation doesn’t happen in days and is a slow process that takes months and years. However, she is encouraged by the slow but increasing number of vaccinations.