Hoping for a less restrictive summer? Officials say 75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine

Click to play video: 'Challenges facing Canada to get some COVID-19 restrictions lifted by summer'
Challenges facing Canada to get some COVID-19 restrictions lifted by summer
WATCH: Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada may be able to lift some COVID-19 restrictions this summer, but only if enough Canadians are vaccinated. Abigail Bimman explains what could ruin Canada's chances of that, as the National Advisory Committee on Immunization revises its guidelines again on who's eligible for the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot – Apr 23, 2021

If Canadians are hoping for a summer of fewer public health restrictions, then 75 per cent of adults need to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam.

New national public health modelling, released Friday, warned Canadians that a higher amount of people getting their first shot will influence our summer (mid-July and August).

READ MORE: ‘This situation is urgent’ — why pregnant women are flooding Canadian ICUs

The modelling showed that a possible “safe lifting scenario” for the warmer months means three-quarters of Canadians need at least one coronavirus shot. Twenty per cent of Canadians will need their second shot.

In this scenario, hospitals will not be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases if strict restrictions are lifted in the summer.

Story continues below advertisement

However, Tam outlined a second scenario, showing that if only 55 per cent of adults get one shot and 20 per cent their second shot, hospitals could be overwhelmed with cases if restrictions are lifted.

“These models give us hope, illustrating that there is a safe way to lift most restrictive public health measures…by this summer if enough people get vaccinated,” Tam said.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, added that the modelling is not necessarily a target, but a way of examining different scenarios in the summer using data. He stressed that this prediction is dependent on vaccine supply and people wanting to get the shot.

Canada has a population of about 37.7 million people, approximately 31.5 million of whom are over the age of 16 and eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

Click to play video: 'Ipsos poll finds 69% would take COVID-19 vaccination without hesitation'
Ipsos poll finds 69% would take COVID-19 vaccination without hesitation

The government has a target of vaccinating most population inoculated by the end of September.

Story continues below advertisement

Nearly 30 per cent of Canadian adults have currently received at least one dose, officials said.

Many parts of Canada continue to be on strict lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases soar during the third wave.

Tam said case counts and hospitalizations are more than double what they were a month ago.

“The daily reported deaths are well below peaks of first and second wave but it recently increased, with 46 deaths reported on average daily,” she said.

However, Tam said there is some good news. The modelling shows that the strict measures may be working.

“In recent days, following the implementation of restrictions in heavily impacted areas of Canada, the national Rt has finally dipped below one,” Tam said. “This means that for the first time in many weeks, the epidemic has dropped out of a growth pattern.”

When the Rt is above one, this means the epidemic is growing, when it’s below, it suggests It’s being brought under control.

She added that COVID-19 vaccines are also starting to help out Canada’s battle against the virus.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite the “spark of good news,” Tam warned that more contagious variants continue to circulate across the country, warning that sustaining pubLic health measures is key to driving and keeping growth down.

“The B.1.1.7 [the virus out of the United Kingdom] has accounted for over 95 per cent of these to date, and is predominating in several areas. However, more recently, there has been a concerning rise in P.1 cases [the variant first discovered in Brazil.”

Sponsored content