Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a number of senior cabinet ministers will speak to Canadians this morning as the Omicron variant stretches hospital capacity nationwide.
CBCNews.ca will carry the 11:30 a.m. ET press conference live.
The government of Canada is poised to deliver some 16.1 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to the provinces and territories this month as health authorities scramble to administer first and second doses to the unvaccinated, and third doses to those who are eligible.
While early data suggests current vaccines are less effective in preventing an Omicron infection, those who are vaccinated are far less likely to experience severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. In Ontario, for example, where fewer than nine per cent of those 12 and over are unvaccinated, people without two doses of an mRNA vaccine account for half of all ICU admissions.
An additional 9.3 million doses of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine and 6.8 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty adult/adolescent formulation will arrive in Canada this month, according to data supplied by Health Canada. Last week, 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived, with another 6.3 million to follow this month.
After these deliveries, there will be enough supply to offer boosters to all eligible Canadians while continuing to ensure that doses are available for those who have not yet received their first or second dose, a spokesperson for the department said.
Provinces and territories currently have 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer product and more than 9 million doses of Moderna’s Spikevax on hand.
Based on National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations, provinces and territories are earmarking some of the Pfizer supply for 12-29 year olds due to concerns of elevated rates of myocarditis observed with the use of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine in this age group.
NACI has urged provinces to be “prudent” about using Pfizer in people aged 30 and over to “ensure timely and equitable access” for the younger cohort, the Health Canada spokesperson said.