Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

The new vaccine requirement is due to take effect just after midnight on Saturday.

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Coaches, volunteers, and officials involved in indoor organized sports in Ottawa must provide proof of vaccination before entering any sports and recreational facilities from Saturday under a new order issued by the city’s top public health official.

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Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s chief medical officer, issued a letter of instruction on Wednesday that the new vaccine requirement should take effect just after midnight on October 9. Provincial rules require proof of vaccination status for anyone attending indoor sports and recreation facilities, although there is an exception for persons under the age of 18 who participate in organized sports.

The new order from Etches would close this exemption for coaches, officials (e.g. referees) and other volunteers.

“We know that important risk factors for COVID-19 transmission include close contact, enclosed spaces, crowded places, prolonged exposure and heavy exhalation, all of which are prevalent with indoor organized sports activities,” Etches wrote in a special statement issued by Ottawa Public Health .

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“The requirement that these individuals be fully vaccinated provides enhanced protection for our society – especially children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine – and further reduces the risks associated with indoor organized sports.”

Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for use in Canada for individuals 12 or older.

Etching said high vaccination rates were “a crucial element” in mitigating the risk of COVID-19, and continued public health measures were needed due to the resurgence in cases caused by the Delta variant, leading to school closures and children having to be isolated due to of high-risk contacts.

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