The Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Large shipments of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to pour into Canada through the summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, with over two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab expected to arrive each week until the end of August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Large shipments of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to pour into Canada through the summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, with over two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab expected to arrive each week until the end of August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Tam urges 2nd COVID vaccine dose as Delta variant emerges ‘essentially across Canada’

Variant has demonstrated to be more transmissible than previous versions

As Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues to pick up speed, the country’s top public health officer is reiterating the importance of receiving a full two-dose series, especially with the latest variant of concern now detected in several provinces.

Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday that the recently dubbed “Delta” variant, which was first detected in India, has been found “essentially across Canada.”

The variant, believed to be behind recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in parts of the United Kingdom, has demonstrated to be more transmissible than previous versions of the virus, Tam said.

Preliminary data released last week from Public Health England suggested that COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca were effective against the new variant after two doses, but less efficacy was shown with only one dose.

Sixty-five per cent of eligible Canadians had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, but vaccine trackers show roughly seven per cent of the eligible population were fully vaccinated.

Tam said the heightened transmissibility of Delta was “obviously a characteristic of concern.”

“(It) means in under-vaccinated populations, or if we let go (of) public health measures … in the context of a transmissible variant, that variant could well takeoff and replace other viruses in the communities,” she said.

“So it is very important to get that second dose when variants such as the Delta variant is in our community.”

Several provinces are speeding up their second-dose rollouts as more vaccine supply pours into the country.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced Friday that large shipments of vaccines will continue through the summer, with more than two million Pfizer doses expected each week until the end of August.

Trudeau said nine million Pfizer doses will arrive in July with another 9.1 million expected in August. He added that Canada has also negotiated an option for three million more Pfizer doses to be delivered in September.

Trudeau said he’s been encouraged by the country’s vaccine rollout, adding that Canadians have “reason to be hopeful about this summer and fall.”

“The more people vaccinated, the safer we all are…. So let’s start looking forward to more of what we love, from camping to dinner with friends,” he said.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to trend downward in parts of the country while vaccinations ramp up.

Tam said the latest seven-day average for daily cases in the country was 2,300, down 73 per cent from the peak of the third wave.

Hospitalizations were down 47 per cent, ICU admissions were down 31 per cent and deaths down were down 35 per cent, Tam added.

Twenty-five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada, with 2.8 million Canadians getting a dose in the past week alone.

Data for how many Delta variant cases have been detected in Canada was not available on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website as of Friday. The webpage said PHAC was in the process of updating its graphical view to include the Delta variant.

The webpage said the B.1.1.7 variant, or Alpha variant first detected in the U.K., continues to account for most of the variant cases in Canada, adding that Delta has “only been recently identified and thus is less understood.”

Peel Public Health in Ontario, one of the country’s most COVID-ravaged areas, said as of Wednesday 100 cases of the Delta variant had been identified in the region, leading Brampton, Ont., Mayor Patrick Brown to urge the province to prioritize the area for second doses.

Variants of concern are typically identified through genomic sequencing, a laborious and expensive process by which the virus’s entire genome is analyzed to detect mutations.

Tam said Canada “does a lot more sequencing than many” other countries, adding that as COVID-19 cases continue to decline, provinces will “(move) towards sequencing a vast majority of the positive cases.”

“Monitoring all variants of concern are very important,” she said. “The Delta variant or B.1.617 has been detected essentially across Canada. It is important then to characterize the exact distribution and the trend as well.”

The U.K. government said in a report last month that both Pfizer and AstraZeneca were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant three weeks after the first dose, but that number rose above 80 after two doses were complete.

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician in Hamilton and an associate professor at McMaster University, said most of the U.K.’s recent Delta cases have been in unvaccinated individuals, with the vaccines seeming to still offer good protection against death and severe disease.

—Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Canada should roll out second doses ‘as soon as possible’: NACI

RELATED: Federal government hiking fines for hotel quarantine violators

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Grant De Patie. (The News files)
Virtual sit-in in memory of Maple Ridge gas attendant killed in 2005

Protest for stronger safety protections for late-night workers

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows does not need new RCMP detachment

Local resident says the price tag is too much

Maple Ridge author Tiffany-Ann Bottcher is one of 21 authors whose real-life stories are featured in the new book Women in Business in a Changing World. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge author shares real-life story to inspire women in business

Tiffany-Ann Bottcher, is a long-time Maple Ridge resident, a full-time business coach and blogger

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. There’s new evidence the Vancouver police were warned about a possible riot days before violence broke out during the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs on June 15. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
Maple Ridge residents share Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot memories

June 15th was 10th anniversary of Canucks Game 7 loss

Maple Ridge's Ron Paley aimed the camera skyward, to the clouds earlier this week, while out for one of his regular bike rides through Pitt Meadows and Mape Ridge. This time, he shared some images he caught while biking to Pitt River Bridge, then north up to the dikes and back around to Laity Street. "Awesome weather for biking… and the cloud formations were unique." (Special to The News)
SHARE: Cyclist stops to admire the clouds

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read