A senior public health official said Thursday that priority groups in Canada are expected to start receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine early next year, as new restrictions for those entering New Brunswick have effectively burst the so-called Atlantic bubble.
“There has been a lot of preparation behind the scenes to ensure that Canada is in a good position to obtain COVID-19 vaccines and, building on our well-established systems, to provide access to all Canadians who want one. in 2021, ”Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr Howard Njoo told reporters.
The first batch is expected to be delivered in the first three months of 2021, but supplies will be limited at first. The former will include the elderly, people with serious health conditions and essential workers, and Njoo said if all goes well, three million people could be vaccinated in the first quarter of the year.
Ottawa has agreements with five vaccine manufacturers and is in advanced negotiations with two more. The agreements would guarantee 194 million doses with the option to purchase an additional 220 million, said Arianne Reza, assistant deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada.
The promising vaccine update has been countered by deflating reports from Atlantic Canada, with New Brunswick announcing that anyone entering the province must self-isolate for 14 days. That province reported 12 new cases on Thursday.
New Brunswick’s move follows the temporary removal of Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island from the Atlantic bubble earlier this week. Previously, residents of the four Atlantic provinces could travel freely within the region without isolating themselves while travelers from outside were subject to strict quarantine rules.
“At this point, community transmission has not been confirmed here, but the threat is real. It is therefore important to act quickly now, ”said Premier Blaine Higgs.
Meanwhile, Quebec reported 1,464 new infections on Thursday, the highest daily tally in the province since the start of the pandemic.
It also recorded 32 more deaths, eight of which occurred on the last day.
Ontario has recorded 1,478 new cases and 21 additional deaths.
New data outside that province suggests the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is expected to reach 200 next month and stay there for a while, which could result in surgeries being canceled. Hospitalizations in Ontario have increased by almost two-thirds in the past month.
Two weeks ago, provincial health advisers predicted there could be as many as 6,500 new infections a day by mid-December if nothing is done to limit the spread of the virus.
Alberta, which announced new measures to mitigate a spike in cases this week, reported 1,077 new COVID-19 infections and 10 more deaths.
The new restrictions include banning social gatherings inside homes and limiting restaurant meals to members of the same household. Several experts said the measures fell short of what was needed to protect the province’s healthcare system.