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

File Photo
Nominations for Sylvan Lake municipal election now open

Those looking to run for mayor or council can fill out and submit nomination forms now

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

(File photo)
Sylvan Lake RCMP investigate graffiti at local school

The graffiti was racially and culturally insensitive, RCMP say

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Most Read