Francesca Paceri, a registered pharmacist technician carefully fills the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a vaccine clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on December 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Francesca Paceri, a registered pharmacist technician carefully fills the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a vaccine clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on December 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Fewer COVID-19 cases in people 80 and up, Tam says as vaccine programs expand

Tam sounded a note of caution over case counts, which are back on the rise after declining earlier this year

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has resulted in a drop in the number of infections in people over the age of 80, Canada’s chief public health officer said Sunday as several provinces prepared to further expand their immunization rollouts.

Dr. Theresa Tam said on Twitter that the reduction in cases among older adults, along with fewer outbreaks in long-term care settings, “reassure us that vaccines will bring more (and) greater benefits in the weeks to come.”

Her statement came as several provinces prepared to expand their immunization campaigns in the coming days.

Ontario is lowering the age of eligibility for shots in the general population from 80 to 75 on Monday, while New Brunswick is stepping up a program to vaccinate high school teachers.

It’s expected that 4,500 staff from high schools provincewide will receive a first dose at a clinic in one of 16 locations, the New Brunswick government said.

Quebec, meanwhile, is expected to begin giving vaccines to people 65 and up in Montreal-area pharmacies on Monday, one week after the provincial booking system opened for reservations.

Despite the positive vaccine news, Tam sounded a note of caution over case counts, which are back on the rise after declining earlier this year.

She said infection rates are highest among those aged 20 to 39, who are less likely to get seriously ill but who can spread the virus, including the more transmissible variants, which are gaining steam across the country.

“Circulation of COVID-19 in younger, more mobile and socially connected adults presents an ongoing risk for spread into high-risk populations and settings,” she said in a statement.

“The emergence and spread of certain SARS-CoV-2 virus variants heightens this concern.”

The highest case count on Sunday was in Ontario, which reported 1,791 new COVID-19 infections, and 18 added deaths related to the virus.

In Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dube raised the prospect of a future third wave of infections, even as he lauded the province’s “encouraging” numbers — including 648 cases Sunday — and the increased pace of vaccine delivery.

“It’s above all not the time to relax our efforts,” Dube wrote on Twitter.

“We have to do everything we can to avoid a third wave.”

Saskatchewan had a setback in its vaccine delivery plans on Sunday as health officials reported the province would get 5,850 fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to a damaged thermal shipper.

The province reported 178 new COVID-19 cases, driven in large part by 105 new cases in the Regina zone where variants of the virus have been spreading.

Manitoba, meanwhile, counted 90 new cases and seven deaths, while Alberta logged 555 new cases of the virus and two deaths.

Things looked brighter farther east, with New Brunswick recording only one new case of the virus, and Newfoundland and Labrador reporting none.

Nova Scotia logged six new diagnoses.

READ MORE: B.C.’s restaurant industry wants in on the rush COVID-19 shot list

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Possible COVID-19 exposures were reported at Maple Bay Elementary between April 12 and 15. (Google Maps screenshot)
Possible COVID-19 exposure reported at Maple Bay Elementary

Exposures may have occurred between April 12 and 15

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Most Read