Canada | September 24, 2021 – Today, Canada Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam (Chief Public Health Officer) and Dr. Howard Njoo (Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada) provided an update on COVID situation. During this update, Dr. Tam said 4th wave of COVID because of Delta variant is continuing nationally. However, she said there is variation in response to COVID. The areas with low vaccination rate are having higher positivity rate and having strain on their healthcare system. In comparison, areas following health recommendations including high vaccination, social distancing, and masking are least affected. Furthermore, she added that this indicates that all the Canadians should get vaccinated asap.
Moving forward, she said nationally average daily new cases were around 4,300 with 2,200 being treated in our hospitals. Apart from this, 700 are in ICU and 36 new deaths are reported on daily basis. New cases are mostly among the unvaccinated. Providing more data, Dr. Tam said that since early August weekly rate has increased 11 times and hospitalization has increased by 38 times among unvaccinated. This is in comparison to fully vaccinated.
Dr. Tam emphasized on continuing the efforts of social distancing and masking along with getting fully vaccinated to avoid severe outcomes. She specifically stressed on need of more vaccination to deal with Delta variant. She also acknowledged that vaccines are effective to deal with Delta variant and other variants of concern.
On question of talks with other countries to accept mixed vaccines received by Canadians for Travel proof to other countries:
CPHO said that they are having active engagement with U.S. and other countries regarding acceptance of mixed vaccines for travelers from Canada. She said we are particularly talking about acceptance of AstraZeneca mixed with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna). To get this accepted Canada is presenting data on immunization conferred by the Canadians who received this combination. Continuing the conversation. Dr. Tam said some of the European countries allow mixing up of these vaccines as they also used this approach and are already accepting it. On a positive end, she said these discussions are progressing well and every country around the World is beginning to start progressing on their COVID vaccine requirements.
Providing the actual insight, she said issue is not with AstraZeneca, but main concern is that those countries have not used AstraZeneca. As a result, they don’t have domestic data, so Canada is providing data particularly regarding people vaccinated with AstraZeneca followed by second dose of mRNA vaccine. This is still in the form of deliberation.