The country is set to bring in 66 million doses to date, said Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, who is overseeing the distribution of vaccines across Canada. With 7.1 million doses arriving this week, the country will have procured a total of 63 million doses by this coming Friday.
Canada aimed to achieve 66 million doses by the fall, a “symbolic threshold” in the country’s vaccine supply, Brodie said last week. That goal has accelerated over time, but despite the procurement achievement there’s still ground to make up when it comes to vaccine uptake.
To date, 80 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 years or older have been administered at least one dose, while 57 per cent of eligible people have been fully vaccinated, said Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer of Canada.
“When we say every vaccination counts, it applies to all eligible ages, in all areas of the country, as well as to people who have had a previous COVID-19 infection,” he said. “That’s because any gaps in protection for you as an individual or for Canadians collectively is a weakness in the firewall where the virus can get in and spread.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed Njoo’s comments at a separate news conference on Tuesday, urging the unvaccinated to “think again.”
“We’re going to continue to live with COVID-19 as a world until we eradicate this. That means there will continue to be cases here and there in Canada over the coming months,” he said. “And those cases will primarily be among people who didn’t get vaccinated, or didn’t get their second dose.”
The vaccine push comes on the heels of the news that fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents who want to come to Canada for non-essential reasons can do so starting on Aug. 9.
When that day comes, American travellers who are fully vaccinated won’t have to quarantine upon arrival, and the government-approved hotel quarantine program will also be axed.
They will, however, be subject to COVID-19 testing and will be required to provide proof of vaccination by way of the ArriveCAN smartphone app or web portal. Post-travel test results will no longer be necessary.
Fully vaccinated travellers from other places in the world will be allowed to enter as of Sept. 7.
“I want everyone, including younger eligible age groups, to know how important they are in the vaccination effort,” Njoo said. “If you haven’t already, please make an appointment to get your first or second dose as soon as you are able.”
On Saturday, the share of the Canadian population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 surpassed the United States for the first time. In the U.S., just 48.6 per cent of all Americans have received both doses, only growing by 0.2 per cent since the weekend.
Canada’s vaccination rate remains among the highest in the world, but is starting to slow as the pool of people still looking for a first or second dose shrinks.
Most polls suggest about 80 per cent of Canadians will be vaccinated. Currently, the vaccines aren’t approved for kids under 12, but there’s hope that vaccine trials on younger children will be finished by the end of the summer.
— with files from Global News and The Canadian Press