The chief public health officer of Canada has warned of a possible COVID-19 resurgence in the fall and winter.
According to Theresa Tam, the circulating omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are even more transmissible and capable of evading immunity than previous versions, implying an increase in cases in the coming weeks.
Tam and federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos emphasized the importance of current vaccination status, noting that 40% of Canadians have yet to receive a booster shot after their primary two shots, putting Canada behind other G7 countries in terms of three doses.
“As cases rise… in some areas of Canada, getting that booster now, if you haven’t had it, would be quite important, especially as we approach the fall,” Tam said.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has advised jurisdictions to prepare to give another round of shots to people who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness, regardless of how many booster doses they have already received.
Tam stated that new vaccines targeting omicron are being developed but have not yet been approved by Canada’s drug regulator. She stated that officials are still awaiting information on what new protection the so-called bivalent vaccines may provide.