Hello. Bonjour. Kwey.
Current COVID-19 monitoring indicators tell us that outbreaks, hospitalizations and the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 continue to decline. This is good news.
That said, the COVID-19 wastewater viral signal is going up, suggesting more transmission of COVID-19. And fewer people are getting tested for COVID. Therefore, the reported number of infections continues to be an underestimate of the number of infections in the community, as many people are asymptomatic and/or have not been tested with mild illness.
Additionally, the level of transmission in the community is much higher than what it was last summer And we are now contending with the more transmissible COVID variants compared with the original virus last year.
We will need to reach higher levels of immunization with two doses before we can rely on vaccines alone to keep COVID-19 at a low, manageable level, and this will not happen until closer to the end of the summer at the earliest.
This summer, how much the level of COVID-19 rises in the community depends directly on our collective actions.
We can soon expect further guidance at the federal and provincial levels for people at different stages of the vaccination series. For now, our advice is the same for everyone regardless of your vaccine status: continue to maintain a distance from those outside your household. Wear a mask when you can’t maintain distance. Choose lower-risk activities. Stick with outdoors when gathering with others. Avoid crowded places.
And, I would like to remind everyone to continue daily screening of COVID-19 and seek testing if you or your child experiences any COVID symptoms. Even if you are working from home, and even though children are no longer in school. This is especially important since day camps are now permitted and children will be mixing with others outside the home.
Visit our website to find out how, when and where you should get tested.
Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI, updated its recommendations for those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose. In this scenario, NACI states that a second dose with an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) is now preferred based on emerging evidence of a potentially better immune response from this mixed vaccine schedule and to mitigate the potential risk of rare, but severe blood clots associated with AstraZeneca. Either Moderna or Pfizer are safe options for a second dose if you received AstraZeneca first.
For those who received AstraZeneca for both doses: You can rest assured that the vaccine provides good protection against infection and very good protection against severe disease and hospitalization. You do not need to receive another vaccine, and you are now considered fully immunized.
If you received an mRNA vaccine for your first dose, so either Moderna or Pfizer, it is recommended that you receive the same vaccine for your second dose if it is readily available. However, if the same mRNA vaccine is not readily available, NACI states another mRNA vaccine is considered interchangeable and should be used to complete the vaccination series. So, if you received Pfizer for your first dose, you can get Moderna for your second dose, (and vice versa), and it is safe to do so.
Both Moderna and Pfizer rely on the same scientific approach to protect against COVID-19 infection. They have very similar effectiveness and side effect profiles.
Vaccine interchangeability is not a new concept. Getting the same vaccine for the first and second dose or an interchangeable schedule are both considered valid options, and both will count as a completed series.
Earlier I mentioned that our behaviours directly impact COVID numbers, and while we can expect an increase in COVID indicators as we move into Step 1, it doesn’t have to be significant if we keep up with public health measures in place.
For students: It’s probably been the most difficult and challenging year you’ve ever had in school. As you approach the end of the school year, it’s time to celebrate everything you’ve accomplished and enjoy time with friends. You can do so while still doing your part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Keep gatherings outdoors. Enjoy that bonfire, pool party or beach day…
- …but limit your contacts. The current limit to outdoor gatherings is 10 people. And try to keep it to those same people.
- I know it’s hard and you want to hug your friends, but it is best to maintain a distance of at least two metres for now.
- Always bring a mask with you in case you can’t maintain a distance from others.
- Bring your own drinks and snacks – do not share food or drinks with others.
If everyone does their part by getting vaccinated as soon as they can and maintaining public health measures, I am hopeful that we can all enjoy a safer, happier summer.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwetch.
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