As COVID-19 cases decline and restrictions ease across the country, Canada’s chief public health officer is still urging younger Canadians to get their vaccine shot if they haven’t already in order to keep infections at bay.
“Vaccination is needed for all eligible ages — with cases still highest in <40 year olds in Canada,” Dr. Theresa Tam tweeted on Sunday.
“Vaccine coverage in younger age groups can have a big impact on COVID-19 control across communities.”
Health officials across the country are noting that young adults and youths are falling behind other demographics when it comes to vaccinations.
For instance, of Ontarians aged 19 to 29 who’ve contracted COVID-19 in the past three months, 96 per cent were unvaccinated, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said.
Of those who tested positive in the 12-17 age group, 99 per cent were not vaccinated.
“That age group is coming down with a higher rate of disease than other age groups across Ontario,” Moore said, adding that young Ontarians will be a “key target” in the vaccination campaign.
“They’re a key metric, because they’re the ones that are going to be going to high schools, to colleges, to universities, to workplaces, and potentially, unbeknownst to them, if they’re carrying the virus without symptoms, spreading it in those environments.”
Canada’s vaccination rate is among the highest in the world — with nearly 70 per cent of the country having been administered at least one shot and 48.8 per cent fully vaccinated — but it’s starting to slow as the pool of people still looking for a first or second dose shrinks
The number of unvaccinated Canadians is roughly equivalent to everyone living in the Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Quebec City metropolitan areas combined.
Experts agree more people need to get the shot to avoid another pandemic resurgence with devastating consequences. The challenge now involves easing access and convincing hesitant Canadians to roll up their sleeves, experts said
After a blitz in April and May, the number of new first doses being administered has stalled at well under 100,000 per day since June 16. That means it would take months to immunize the remaining holdouts at the current pace.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,423,177 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,616 considered active. The country’s COVID-19 death toll stood at 26,499. More than 45 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to a CBC News tally.
British Columbia, which lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions on Canada Day, is set to further loosen measures for long-term care homes. Starting Monday, visitors will no longer need to schedule their visits in advance, and there will no longer be a limit on the number of visitors each resident can have, provided the visitors are fully vaccinated.
In Alberta, 74.2 per cent of eligible residents have had at least one vaccine shot and 57.65 per cent have received both.
Ontario registered another 177 cases and six more deaths. The province also announced it has now administered more than 18 million vaccine doses.
In Quebec, the province is holding a lottery for $2 million in cash and scholarships in an effort to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
Prince Edward Island is marking its first day of letting in fully vaccinated Canadians from outside the Maritimes without the need for them to self-isolate after arriving on the Island. The province currently has no known active cases of COVID-19.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, active cases stood at 46, nearly all of them aboard two ships anchored in Conception Bay.
In the North, the territories continue to lead the country in percentage of fully vaccinated eligible residents, which stands at 81.5 per cent in Yukon, 77.3 per cent in the Northwest Territories and 63 per cent in Nunavut.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 190.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, according to a tool from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, which has been collecting coronavirus data from nations around the world. The reported death toll stood at more than four million.
In the Americas, residents in Los Angeles County — the largest county in the United States — are again required to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status as health officials hope the mandate will reverse the latest spikes in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
In Asia, the Vietnamese government has put the entire southern region in a two-week lockdown starting at midnight. Officials say they have to act as the number of infections reached nearly 50,000 since the outbreak reemerged at the end of April after several months of no cases being recorded.
In Europe, daily new caseloads of confirmed COVID-19 infections are surging in Italy. Health experts say it’s clear that nationwide celebrations by Italian fans after European Championship soccer matches are a significant factor.
In Africa, health officials warn that cases are surging in Senegal as millions in the West African nation prepare for the Tabaski holiday. President Macky Sall and his cabinet are limiting public gatherings and travel and urging the public to continue wearing masks and frequently sanitize their hands.