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Canada’s top public health official said there is an urgent need for more people aged 18 to 39 to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to reduce the impact of the delta variable.
“This is a defining moment,” Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday in her first in-person briefing on COVID-19 since August 12.
“We have a window of opportunity to accelerate vaccine uptake and close the protection gap in younger age groups.”
The number of cases in Canada each day has risen from about 700 in early August, to nearly 3,500 now. The vast majority of cases are among unvaccinated individuals, and Tam said unvaccinated people are 12 times more likely to become infected and 36 times more likely to be hospitalized if they become infected.
New modeling released Friday showed that if the current rate of COVID-19 transmission remains the same, Canada could see more than 15,000 new cases per day by the beginning of October.
That would be nearly double the 8,500 daily cases that Canada was seeing on average at the height of the third wave, although hospital admissions so far are not rising as quickly as they were in the spring.
“But of course, we can do something about the resurgence,” Tam said.
She said it shouldn’t mean a closure that no one wants. Tam said more vaccinations — especially among younger adults — and targeted measures, such as public mask mandates and capacity limits, should do so.
“It seems we said the same thing last fall, but now we have vaccines as an important tool,” she said.
More than three-quarters of Canadians over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated. Tam said that to keep the more contagious delta variant from overpowering our health care system, that number should rise to more than 80 percent, particularly in the younger age groups that have the lowest vaccine uptake and the highest rates of infection.
Health Canada data shows that 7.9 million Canadians at least 12 years old have not been fully vaccinated, half of whom are between 18 and 39 years old.
Tam said that increasing the rate of vaccination in that age group is most important because young people tend to have more close contact. It is also responsible for most injuries. National data shows that 44 percent of new COVID-19 cases in July and August were in people between the ages of 20 and 39, but they made up 27 percent of the total population.
Another 1.6 million Canadians between the ages of 18 and 39 need a full vaccination to reach 80 percent. Another 216,000 people in their 40s, and 318,690 children between the ages of 12 and 17, need those groups vaccinated, up to 80 percent. Everyone over the age of 50 has already achieved this goal.
Tam said she’d love for it to happen by Labor Day, but since that’s highly unlikely, she said it should happen as soon as possible after that, because people will be going home during the fall.
What’s happening all over Canada
- The Waterloo region is seeing a spike in vaccinations following the announcement of the Ontario Passport.
What is happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 219.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll has reached more than 4.5 million.
in a AsiaIndia reported 42,618 new COVID-19 infections and 330 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 32.9 million and 440,225 deaths, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Saturday.
in a AfricaThere have been nearly eight million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 196,000 deaths attributable to the disease since the start of the pandemic, Dr Machidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for the continent, said this week.
In the Americas, some cities in Brazil are providing COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, even though most people have yet to receive their second vaccine, in a sign of concern in the country about the highly contagious delta variant.
Rio de Janeiro, currently the epicenter in Brazil for the variable and home to one of its largest groups of elderly people, began administering the boosters on Wednesday. The northeastern cities of Salvador and Sao Luis kicked off on Monday, and the most populous city of Sao Paulo will start on September 6. This will follow next week.
In the Middle eastBahrain has agreed to use a booster dose of the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. On Saturday, the Bahrain News Agency reported that the injection allowed those over 18 years of age at least six months after receiving their second dose of the fifth Sputnik vaccine.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have already approved a third booster dose with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.