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Canada's COVID-19 numbers show positive trends as country ramps up vaccinations

Last Updated May 3, 2021 at 9:53 am PDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Public Health Agency of Canada says relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported in people who've received first vaccine

Expert says new data shows positive trend, but people still need to do their part to prevent spread of COVID-19

Infectious diseases expert says May is likely going to be a 'transformative month' in fight against COVID-19 in Canada

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An infectious diseases expert says May could be a “transformative month” in Canada’s fight against COVID-19, as provinces and territories continue to administer vaccines.

A ramp up in vaccination efforts and the promise of more shots on the way is resulting in some promising trends across the country.

The Public Health Agency of Canada tells the Globe and Mail that data shows relatively few cases of the coronavirus have been reported in people who’ve received their initial shot. Only a small percentage have gone on to develop COVID-19 and an even smaller share have fallen seriously ill or died.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist based out of Toronto General Hospital, says the developments based on the first-dose-fast strategy are great to see.

“I think the numbers that they released, even though they’re still probably an under estimate of the number of people that have been infected following a first dose, it’s still pretty clear that a single dose provides some protection against COVID-19,” he said Monday.

“Obviously, it’s not as good as two doses, but people are afforded some protection against the virus, and of course if you do ultimately get infected, you still have a lower probability of getting really sick, landing in hospital, and succumbing to the illness,” Bogoch added, noting the possibility of severe illness is still present, but more rare.

So what do these trends mean? Bogoch says they tell us to keep doing what we’re doing.

With many Canadians still months away from receiving their second dose of the vaccine — in many cases, waiting for their first shot — Bogoch stresses the importance of continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and others safe.

“After the first dose, you still have to mask, you still have to distance, you still have to be careful. We’ll all get our second doses, and as more and more people get our first dose, and then of course as people start to get a second dose, I think we’ll start to see a lifting of many, not all, of these public health measures, and we’ll gradually slide towards what we remember life was like before COVID-19,” he said.

On whether Canada could be on track to “breaking the back of the pandemic,” as is suggested by a Globe and Mail editorial piece, Bogoch says it’s not a pipe dream to think so.

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While he believes May will bring a significant change, Bogoch says the health crisis isn’t over yet.

“I don’t think the pandemic’s going to be over by any means after the month of May, but I think when we look at where we’re at right now versus where we’re going to be at the end of the month, it’s going to be a significantly different Canada,” Bogoch said.

However, he says we can’t take the brakes off restrictions too fast, adding that doing so could result in yet another spike.

Canada to date has fully vaccinated more than 1.13 million people and administered over 13.8 million doses. The country is on track to receive millions of doses in the coming months.