Federal health officials on Tuesday (April 27) decline to provide guidance to partially or fully vaccinated Canadians, even as they touted the benefits of even one dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that real-world evidence has shown that one dose has reduced hospitalizations and deaths among populations where most are vaccinated.
“You have seen how even one dose of vaccine has reduced long-term care home impacts and also… on Indigenous communities that have received at least one dose of the vaccine,” Tam said. “It is an extremely important measure.”
However, she noted, “it is not 100 per cent” and that regardless of vaccination status, people should continue following local public health advice and using personal protective equipment.
And regardless of the protection offered by the first dose, Tam said all Canadians who are on a multi-dose schedule should get both.
Tam’s words come after the U.S. Centre for Disease Control provided new guidance to Americans as half have received one dose and more than one-third have been fully vaccinated.
The CDC said that fully vaccinated or not, people do not have to wear masks outdoors when they walk, bike or run alone or with members of their household. They can also go maskless in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people.
Tam reiterated that to lift restrictions here, 75 per cent of people would need to be vaccinated fully, with at least 20 per cent having received their second dose. Just under one-quarter of Canadians, 24 per cent, have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and just two per cent have gotten both doses. The vaccination coverage is also concentrated among Indigenous peoples, long-term care residents and staff and people aged 70 and above.
“I think our most important message is to be really clear to Canadians is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve had one dose or two doses, at the moment, please observe all public health practices because we’re in the middle of a big third resurgence and now is not the time to let your guard down,” Tam said.