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Canada PM says third COVID-19 wave at ‘critical’ juncture, Pfizer booster shots coming

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacts after being inoculated with AstraZeneca's vaccine against coronavirus disease at a pharmacy in Ottawa, Ontario.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

A surge in COVID-19 cases meant Canada was at a critical juncture, but increased vaccine deliveries offered hope, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, announcing a deal with Pfizer Inc for millions of booster shots.

The number of daily cases has doubled this month to 8,600, and health officials earlier said they could jump again to more than 15,000 by the end of April unless stricter measures were taken as new coronavirus variants spread.

“There are more contagious and more dangerous variants out there. The situation is critical,” said Trudeau, who together with his wife Sophie is due to receive a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.

“Vaccine doses continue to be the good news we all need in what has become a very tough spring,” said Trudeau. “It’s also important to plan ahead for the future.”

Trudeau said the deal with Pfizer would help keep the virus under control in the coming years. Ottawa will buy 35 million booster doses in 2022 and 30 million in 2023.

“We are in ongoing discussions with other vaccine manufacturers about their plans for booster shots, too,” he said without providing further details.

He also said his government had identified 100 federal healthcare workers who could be sent to help Ontario, which is struggling to cope with a worsening third wave of COVID-19 and accuses Ottawa of not doing enough to tackle new, more highly transmissible virus variants.

Health officials told a briefing that if people cut the number of personal contacts by 20%-30%, the number of new daily cases could drop to around 4,500.

“We are still in a tight race between vaccines and variants,” said Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.

Canada has so far recorded a total of 23,822 deaths and 1,155,834 cases of COVID-19.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 1:10:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/canada-pm-says-third-covid-19-wave-at-critical-juncture-pfizer-booster-shots-coming/article34396251.ece

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