Canada needs to adopt a 'more sustainable' approach to COVID_freckle removal ottawa

Canada needs to adopt a 'more sustainable' approach to COVID-19, Tam saysCanada's top doctor said today the country needs to find a more "sustainable" way to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and future variants of the virus.

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'We do need to get back to some normalcy,' chief public health officer says

John Paul Tasker · CBC News(Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Canada's top doctor said today the country needs to find a more "sustainable" way to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and future variants of the virus.

Speaking to reporters at the weekly public health briefing, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said all existing public health policies, including provincial vaccine passports, need to be "re-examined" in the coming weeks — because it's clear now that Canada and the rest of the world will be grappling with this virus for months or years to come.

"What we need to do going forward, as we emerge out of this Omicron wave, is recognize this virus is not going to disappear. We need to be able to address the ongoing presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a more sustainable way," Tam said.

"Further waves will occur. Some will be quite severe and disruptive and we need to be ready for them. But we do need to have longer-term, sustained approaches and capacity-building so we're not in a crisis mode all the time as we fight this virus."

Tam said the Public Health Agency of Canada is talking to its provincial and territorial counterparts to chart a path forward for a country exhausted after two years of enduring some of the most restrictive measures in the developed world.

  • Canada lost 200,000 jobs in January as Omicron hit hard
  • Canada recommends waiting 3 months after COVID-19 infection before booster amid mixed messages, lack of tests

Together, she said, these agencies will review the current "suite of measures," including severe border restrictions and travel limitations.

"I think the whole concept is, we do need to get back to some normalcy," Tam said.

She said Canada's efforts should be focused on preventing severe cases of COVID through vaccinations rather than stopping all new infections of a highly transmissible virus.

Tam said it's now clear that the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine — the first two shots of an mRNA vaccine or a viral vector product like the AstraZeneca vaccine — do not protect against an Omicron infection.

But these shots still offer "reasonably good protection" against severe outcomes like hospitalization and death. A third shot provides "superior protection," dramatically reducing the likelihood of severe outcomes, she said. A third dose might also help to prevent an actual infection, Tam added.

Tam said the country's priority should be to deploy as many booster shots as possible. But the immunization campaign has stalled, with just 50 per cent of people eligible for a booster having had that third shot. 

WATCH | Tam outlines how boosters help protect against COVID-19:

Receiving mRNA booster 'superior' protection against COVID-19, Tam says

1 day agoDuration 3:20Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, highlights the importance of vaccines, specifically booster doses, in the fight against COVID-19.As U.S. accelerates distribution of rapid tests, critics call on Ottawa to catch up

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