Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke, in a video address to the community, is urging citizens young and old to get the jab and play their role in ending the pandemic.
"It may feel like deja vu as we head into another pandemic holiday season especially as local and provincial case rates are increasing and a new variant of concern has been detected in Ontario," said the mayor.
However, he said it's much different than last year. He said 85 percent of residents in Simcoe Muskoka and over 90 percent of people in Orillia (aged 12 and older) are fully vaccinated, which, he said "is terrific for our community."
Now that kids aged 5-11 are eligible to receive their first dose, Clarke urged parents to book an appointment for their kids. He said since September, the highest rate of new cases in the region is children under 12, which has led to a spike in cases and outbreaks at local schools.
"Vaccinating children will provide them with a strong level of protection, help schools stay open and stop the spread of the virus," said the mayor.
He urged citizens to "go the last mile" in an effort to put COVID-19 behind us. "And the only way to get out of this pandemic is to have a high level of immunity in our community ... and the only way to achieve that is to get children vaccinated," he said.
You can book for kids aged 5-12 through the provincial booking system or by calling 1-833-943-3900. Doses are also available at some pharmacies and some primary health care providers, the mayor noted.
He also urged adults to get their booster shots, which are now available for eligible citizens.
"Please continue to take precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission," he urged.