Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can be hopeful for a summer of backyard barbecues and picnics in the park but only if we get more vaccinations into arms, and don’t ease public-health restrictions until “cases are way down.”

“We all want to have a summer where we can see our loved ones and invite friends over for barbecues,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday.

“We can have that summer, we can have a one-dose summer … And a one-dose summer sets us up for a two-dose fall when we’ll be able to talk about going back to school back to work and back to more normality. That’s what the coming months could look like. That’s what I’m excited about.”

Canada is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40 per cent of Canadians — 15.2 million people — now vaccinated with at least their first dose. It should be able to get to 50 per cent by the Victoria Day weekend.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, however, said 75 per cent is the target for first doses before lifting many restrictions won’t result in a fourth wave. And as restrictions are lifted it must happen “slowly, deliberately and carefully,” she said.

“This is, I hope, our final challenge,” said Tam. “If we can keep on suppressing the cases and get the vaccines up, we will have a year that looks considerably better moving head.”

There are enough doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna expected to get to 75 per cent by the middle of June, and it could be faster depending on when Moderna schedules the rest of its spring shipments.

All Canadians over the age of 12 will be able to access their first dose before Canada Day. Vaccines aren’t yet authorized for kids under the age of 12 but Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca are testing on children now and results are expected before the end of the summer.

What’s becoming more clear is that very few Canadians going forward will be getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose. While safety concerns about the risk of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia remain an issue, the decision is mainly be driven by supply.

Fewer than 200,000 doses remain of the 2.3 million already shipped, and only 1.65 million more are expected before the end of June.

Alberta became the first province to say it is no longer giving AstraZeneca as a first dose, saving the 8,400 doses it has left for second shots. Manitoba Health said Tuesday it isn’t changing its vaccine program, but did note it only has about 8,000 doses left and no sign of when more will be coming.

Every province is eagerly anticipating results of a British study on mixing and matching vaccines. Data could come on AstraZeneca and Pfizer as early as this week, with many health experts expecting very positive results from combining two different vaccines.

“That would offer a choice essentially, for those who have received AstraZeneca for the first dose,” said Tam.

However, she said for now the advice remains to give the same vaccine for second doses and Canada will ensure there are enough doses of AstraZeneca to give the second dose to the more than two million Canadians who got it as their first.

Vaccines are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but Tam and Trudeau stressed they’re not the only important public-health measure. Trudeau said vaccines can help stop the spread at 75 per cent with one dose, if we do the hard work to “crush” COVID-19 by staying at home.

“We’ve seen from waves in the past the problems that happen if restrictions are opened too early, it just leads to a greater next wave,” said Trudeau.

There are still pockets of Canada where COVID-19 is not in control, including much of Alberta and Manitoba. Both provinces implemented new restrictions this week, including school closures and limits on public gatherings, but neither are in a full lockdown.

Quebec and Ontario are reporting their lowest case counts since March Tuesday — Quebec reported 660 new cases and Ontario 2,073 — and both have seen declines in hospitalizations, including intensive care patients, in the last two weeks.

Ontario’s average new daily caseload is two-thirds of what it was in mid-April. The province is signalling its stay-at-home order, in place now since April 8, will be extended into June. Chief medical officer Dr. David Williams said daily cases have to be well below 1,000 a day before it can be lifted.

Nationally the average daily case reports have fallen to 7,275, from a third-wave high of 8,680 on April 20. Hospitalizations and ICU cases have also started to ease, with 4,000 patients in hospital and 1,400 in the ICU Tuesday, compared with 4,300 and 1,450 a week ago.

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

Nelson police say a man attacked two people downtown with bear spray on Wednesday afternoon. File photo
Two people attacked with bear spray in downtown Nelson: police

Police say the three people know each other

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read