Sudbury

Public health data says almost everyone in Chapleau, Ont. is fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Public health officials say a small northern Ontario town is nearly fully vaccinated thanks to hard work and community spirit.

Health unit says 2,787 of 2,802 people over 5 in the Chapleau area have had two doses of vaccine

Local health unit data shows that the small northern Ontario town of Chapleau has a 99 per cent COVID vaccination rate, but the mayor doubts it is actually that high. (Erik White/CBC)

Public Health Sudbury and Districts says it's tough to find someone in Chapleau who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Tawyna Parry, a public health nurse based in Chapleau, says they've given out 2,787 second doses of the vaccine and that according to the most recent census there are 2,802 people over the age of five living in the area. 

"We got on it. Immediately. Right down to, at the beginning stages, how we wanted to get the word out. We had our local fire department go door to door," she said. 

Parry says it's easier to fill appointments in a small town where everybody knows everybody.

"We have backup waiting lists, we have lists of people to call and in fact in the early stages we also had members of our family health team call all eligible clients and even provided assistance to them with booking their appointments," she said. 

Chapleau Mayor Michael Levesque is in total agreement on his town's community spirit, but is a bit more skeptical of the math. 

"Ninety-nine seems a little kind of Disneyworld, but it's probably higher than maybe average," he said.

Levesque says many in Chapleau were motivated to get vaccinated fearing that their small hospital could not handle a major outbreak of coronavirus. 

"We were considering the worst," he said. 

"Everyone was aware of the limitations our health care system in the community has."

Levesque says the case count in the Chapleau area— which also includes Chapleau Cree First Nation, Brunswick House First Nation, as well as the hamlets of Foleyet, Sultan and Gogama— recently moved into the 30s where "until a few weeks ago things were pretty dead as far as COVID was concerned. You might have had one or two."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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