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Canada has hit a major vaccine milestone. There’s still more work to do but reasons to feel good about what’s been accomplished

Canada has hit a major vaccine milestone. There’s still more work to do but reasons to feel good about what’s been accomplished
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That means that as of Sept. 16, roughly 28.5 million people in this country have received a jab, nine months after the largest mass vaccination program in Canada’s history began last December.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised earlier this year that any Canadian who wants a vaccine will be able to get one .

The Star’s vaccine tracker makes the conservative assumption that 75 per cent of the Canadian population will receive one dose by the stated goal; this is to account for the fact that children are not currently approved to receive the vaccine and that some adults will not be vaccinated due to hesitancy or medical reasons.

“When you get 75 per cent of your population vaccinated, even though we now have a more transmissible Delta variant, it’s still fair to acknowledge that the vast majority of people did the right thing,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at University Health Network and a former member of Ontario’s now-disbanded vaccine distribution task force.

“We also can’t ignore how significant that is in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community. It helps at an individual level but it also helps significantly at a population level.”

To date, 69 per cent of the country’s population has received two doses of the vaccine. In total, 54,771,266 doses have been administered.

In Ontario, about 85 per cent of the province’s eligible population (12 years of age and older) have received at least one dose, while almost 79 per cent have received two doses.

While the news that 75 per cent of the nationwide population has received at least one dose is undoubtedly good, Bogoch notes that more people need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity because of the arrival of the more transmissible Delta variant.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said it is now unclear what level of vaccination will be needed to achieve herd immunity in that country. But Dr. Ricardo Franco of the Infectious Diseases Society of America that the Delta variant has pushed herd immunity threshold estimates “well over 80 per cent, maybe approaching 90 per cent.”

“The problem here is that the Delta variant is twice as more transmissible than the original virus and that pushes the overall population herd immunity thresholds much higher,” Franco said.

Bogoch agrees.

“The reason the goalposts are changing is because when you have a more transmissible variant, which we do with the Delta variant, the calculations for herd immunity are changed,” he said. “You certainly need to vaccinate a higher proportion of the population in that situation.”
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