Ford says he wants ‘two-dose’ summer for Ontario as feds stress ‘team approach’ to eventual easing of restrictions
Published Thursday, May 13, 2021 6:06PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that he wants Ontario to have a “two-dose summer" even as federal officials said they don't plan to immediately loosen public health guidelines for anyone who gets a second COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Buoyed by large deliveries of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Ontario has been plowing ahead in its vaccination campaign by offering everyone a first dose with an extended interval of four months instead of three weeks.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday that Ontario is on track to provide 65 per cent all eligible adults a first dose by the end of May and federal officials confirmed that all eligible Canadians who wants a shot should be able to receive one by the end of June.
However Ford took aim at the federal government in a news conference Thursday, saying that “a one-dose summer is just not good enough.”
“If we get the supply, we will work our backs off to have a two-dose summer instead of a one-dose summer,” he said, lashing out at his federal counterparts for not doing more to tighten border restrictions and to procure vaccines.
He said the province is working to have “as normal a July and August as possible” and said he’s confident it can be done.
“Again I don't believe in a one-dose summer. I believe that we're gonna have a two-dose summer,” Ford said.
However federal officials did not say during a vaccine update Thursday exactly how many vaccine doses are expected to arrive in the country this summer.
Officials also said they don't currently plan to provide individualized advice around what a person can do after one or two doses.
The United States has been able to secure much larger vaccine supplies than most other countries through close relationships with the drug companies and the country has followed a three-week dosing interval for its citizens.
This week the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention provided updated guidance that said those who are fully vaccinated do not need to mask indoors. Canadian have also seen friends and family south of the border resume gatherings and many other regular activities following widespread two-dose vaccination.
“The US guidance obviously is aimed for the US context and I think here in Canada, we appreciate that we have sort of more of a community or collective approach,” Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.
He said rather than providing individualized advice about what people can do after one or two doses, Canada is taking more of a “team effort” approach and maintaining general public health guidance until most people have received a second shot.
Canadian health officials have previously said that distancing and other public health measures are likely to continue until at least the fall.
“I think Canadians can understand and also appreciate that if they have been one of the lucky ones who made the good decision to get that first dose that certainly with that extra level of protection that there's a comfort to that, but they certainly shouldn't be relaxing either their own personal protective measures but also respecting what measures might be put in place at the community level,” Njoo said.
He pointed out that “no vaccine is 100% effective” and that there are still “a lot of unanswered scientific questions about the duration of immunity and so on.”
On Thursday Ford announced that tough public health measures, including a stay-at-home order, will remain in place for the province until at least June 2 in order to further drive down COVID-19 numbers and prevent a resurgence of cases once things reopen.