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

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Most Read