Vancouver Sun


`NOT ABSOLUTE' Doctor puts focus on young people


Canada's chief public health officer reminded Canadians on the weekend that even those who are fully vaccinated remain susceptibl­e to COVID-19.

Speaking at a virtual town hall for Yukoners, Dr. Theresa Tam said the risk of asymptomat­ic infection and transmissi­on is far lower for anyone who receives two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Oxford-Astra-Zeneca vaccines.

“But it's not absolute. There's reduction in your risk of transmissi­on, but it doesn't necessaril­y eliminate your risk of transmissi­on,” Tam said, adding that the danger dials down especially after the second dose.

“Some studies have shown that it reduces the amount of virus in the back of your nose. If you sample people, there's less virus, which means less risk of transmissi­on.”

Young people, who often work in front-line or essential services and sit at the bottom of vaccinatio­n priority queues, now have some of the highest case rates and can transmit the virus despite showing no symptoms, Tam added.

“The groups that transmit the virus the most are actually younger adults, many of whom have to work. They can't stay at home,” she said.

“It's important that we protect them, as well as the fact that if they're protected, we reduce transmissi­on of the virus in the community.”

Alberta and other parts of Canada remain mired in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as hospitaliz­ation rates have started to tick downward in provinces such as Ontario and Quebec.

Many parts of the country face tight restrictio­ns, with schools closed across Ontario and Alberta and patios shut down in Montreal, Toronto and — as of this Monday — Calgary.

Schools in Winnipeg and Brandon, Man., are being ordered to move classes online starting Wednesday and continuing until May 30.

Some Albertans continue to chafe at the tougher measures in that province, which Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday.

Protesters went ahead with an anti-lockdown demonstrat­ion outside a highway diner in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction.

Dozens of demonstrat­ors gathered outside the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta., for the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.”

The largely mask-free gathering followed a rodeo billed as an anti-lockdown event held last weekend in Bowden, about 100 kilometres southwest of Mirror.

Alberta Health Services has said the provincial government will take legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders, including the one outside the café.

Mass vaccinatio­n efforts continue to broaden across swaths of the country.

In Ontario, nearly 150

pharmacies started offering COVID-19 vaccines to all adults in some virus hot spots on the weekend, a shift made to align with provincial efforts to protect the most vulnerable amid a third wave of infections.

The province quietly announced the expanded eligibilit­y — for anyone aged 18 and older — on a provincial pharmacy vaccine booking webpage on Friday afternoon, with slightly more than half of the locations in Toronto and Peel Region.

On Thursday, Quebec said it vaccinated 102,762 people, the highest single-day number since the start of its vaccine rollout. The province set another record that day, when vaccinatio­ns opened to everyone 35 and over, with 272,000 people booking vaccinatio­ns, Health Minister Christian Dube said Friday.

Quebec's health situation remains relatively stable, with the number of new COVID-19 cases falling short of 1,000 for the sixth day in a row on Saturday and hospitaliz­ations also on the decline.

Dispiritin­g numbers kicked off the weekend in Nova Scotia, however.

The province continues to log high case counts of COVID-19, reporting 163 new infections Saturday, mostly in the Halifax region.

On the other side of the country, communitie­s along the Alberta-British Columbia boundary said they're worried continuing COVID-19 restrictio­ns could hit their economies hard this summer.

The B.C. government is discouragi­ng Alberta tourists from visiting. In Fernie, in southeaste­rn B.C., the executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce said visitors from Alberta have traditiona­lly accounted for the majority of the town's total business.

“Fernie might as well be in Alberta for all intents and purposes. We're that reliant on Albertans, obviously in the tourism industry, but in our economy at large,” Brad Parsell said.

“It's been incredibly challengin­g for the tourism industry to not have the welcome mat out to those folks at the moment.”

A spokeswoma­n for the RCMP in B.C. said Albertans are not prohibited from visiting British Columbia, but, once there, they aren't allowed to travel to other areas within the province unless it's deemed essential.


 ??  ??
 ?? GRAHAM HUGHE/THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? People line up at a food truck in the Old Port in Montreal on Sunday. Quebec's health situation remains relatively stable.
GRAHAM HUGHE/THE CANADIAN PRESS People line up at a food truck in the Old Port in Montreal on Sunday. Quebec's health situation remains relatively stable.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada