Canadians will be able to invite over friends and family for a BBQ this summer if COVID-19 infection rates are down and a vast majority of the population is vaccinated with one dose, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
Speaking at a media conference, Trudeau said the country can have a better “one-dose” summer with fewer COVID-19 restrictions, like outdoor gatherings, but only if we “crush COVID right across the country.”
“We all want to have a summer where we can see our loved ones and invite our friends over for BBQs,” he said. “A summer in which a vast majority of Canadians have received one dose with caseloads down across the country will allow us to gather with friends.”
Seventy-five per cent of adults need to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, if Canadians are hoping for a summer of fewer public health restrictions, federal health officials said on April 23.
Public health modelling showed that a possible “safe lifting scenario” for the warmer months means three-quarters of Canadians need at least one coronavirus shot and 20 per cent will need their second 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.
As of Tuesday, more than 39.9 per cent of eligible adults have received at least one shot, according to the COVID-19 vaccine tracker. That’s around 15 million Canadians.
By the end of June, Trudeau said there will be enough vaccines for every eligible Canadian to get one dose.
“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,” Trudeau said.
But vaccinations alone won’t allow for a less restrictive summer.
Restrictions also need to remain in place until coronavirus case numbers go “way down,” he said. Trudeau did not share a specific number but said every province has its own threshold.
He warned that lifting restrictions too early will just put Canada into a fourth wave.
As of Tuesday, Canada reported 6,325 new COVID-19 cases and 40 deaths, according to Health Canada.
Countries like the United Kingdom have already started lifting COVID-19 restrictions under a “four-step” guideline, and people in Britain can again dine in a restaurant or pub and meet indoors in groups of up to six.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnston also previously said that the country “has a good chance” of ditching social distancing by June.
More than 35.5 million U.K. adults have been vaccinated with one dose as of Tuesday, which is 67.6 per cent of the adult population, according to the U.K. government health website. And 18 million adults there have been vaccinated with two doses, which is 34.3 per cent of the population.
Fully vaccinated by early September?
By the summer, Canada will have enough vaccines so that all eligible people will have received their first dose, Trudeau said.
“And by September, as we’ve been saying for months, we’ll have enough doses for every Canadian to be fully vaccinated.”
But if all goes well, that date could actually be the beginning of September, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said at the media conference.
“During this summer we will receive enough doses for all Canadians who wish to be fully vaccinated with two doses to do so. And all of that will be done by September,” he said.
“Obviously, if provinces are able to roll out the vaccines quickly and Canadians register as quickly as possible it may be by the beginning of September that all Canadians will be fully vaccinated.”