Canadian health officials say that widespread use of a potential COVID-19 vaccine will be the best shot at regaining normalcy.
Shortly after the Canadian Government signed an agreement for 76 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine, health officials explained how the treatment could be most effective.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says that the success will ultimately “depend on individual Canadians rolling up their sleeves to get immunized.”
“As we have seen with COVID-19, prevention measures such as practicing physical distancing, handwashing, and non-medical masks or face coverings in public can help prevent the spread of the virus,” Tam told reporters.
Tam says, however, that “these measures alone cannot reduce the spread of COVID-19 to a point where Canadians can resume life as normal.”
“To have the best shot at normalcy, what Canada and what the world needs is a safe and effective vaccine.”
3/6 The vaccine research and development process during usual times takes more than a decade before a safe and effective vaccine is approved for use in Canada. Canada, and the world, cannot wait 10 years for a #COVID19 vaccine…
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) September 1, 2020
“Widespread vaccine uptake is the best shot Canadians have at regaining some of what we’ve lost and returning what we cherish,” Tam stresses. “Things like holding our family and friends closely, holding community events, and living our lives without fear of contracting the disease.”
Health officials were also asked what percentage of Canadians would need to be vaccinated in order to achieve “community protection.”
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Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo says the amount varies based on the virus and that at this point, the answer isn’t known. He adds that, regardless, it’ll be extremely important for those who are older or have underlying illnesses.
“If someone is at severe risk of consequences, being of an older age group or having underlying conditions, the more people that become vaccinated would be good,” he says.
The federal government announced a deal with biotech company Novavax to supply 76 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine. The company says that its vaccine candidate will hit the Canadian market as long as it receives approval from Health Canada.
It’s currently in stage two of its clinical trials and could be available as early as the second quarter of 2021.