Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his vaccine and orders tens of millions of doses for 2022-2024.
New daily COVID-19 cases in Canada could nearly double to more than 15,000 from 8,600 by the end of April unless strict measures are taken when new coronavirus variants spread, health officials warned on Friday.
Officials told a briefing that if people cut their number of personal contacts by 20-30 percent, the number of cases could drop to around 4,500.
“The high number of cases and serious disease trends remind us that we are still in a fair race between vaccines and variants and our actions matter,” said Theresa Tam, head of public health.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed the call to reduce personal contact, saying “the situation with COVID-19 is critical”.
Major provinces like Ontario are struggling to cope with a worsening third wave of COVID-19 and accuses Ottawa of not doing enough to crack down on the spread of new, more highly transmissible viral variants and even messing up the supply of vaccines. Ontario reported more than 4,500 new cases on Friday.
Vaccine shortages prompted Canada to delay second doses of vaccines for up to four months.
On Friday, Trudeau and his wife Sophie received the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Canadian prime minister said his country has signed an agreement with COVID vaccine manufacturer Pfizer for 35 million booster doses for 2022 and 30 million in 2023, with options to add an additional 30 million doses in 2022 and 2023. and 60 million doses in 2024.
He said the government is also talking to other vaccine manufacturers about their plans for booster shots.
The vaccines are so new that experts still do not have certain data on how long their protection will last or whether they will be affected by emerging variants of the virus.
“Canadians expect us to be ready for whatever happens. There is certainly hope that the recall shots may not be necessary, but it is far better to make sure we are prepared in case they are, ”Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa.
The prime minister says 30% of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one vaccine. All eligible Canadians should be able to get at least one dose by the end of June.
The Pacific Coast province of British Columbia has restricted nonessential travel between three regional health districts to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Attorney General Mike Farnworth, who is also the minister of public safety, said the order bans recreational travel between districts, but allows travel for essential reasons such as school, work, health care, or commercial transportation.
Canada has so far recorded a total of 23,835 deaths and 1,167,684 cases of COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.