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COVID-19 in Ontario: Chances of mandatory vaccine mandate ending in January ‘close to zero’, says head of science

OTTAWA – The head of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Desk is not optimistic that mandatory vaccine certifications will begin to expire at the start of the new year.

When the provincial government announced a roadmap for the gradual reopening of the province in the fall and into the spring of 2022, it said evidence of vaccination requirements for places like restaurants, sports facilities and casinos could begin to be phased out around January 17. The government says this will be based on pandemic trends at that point, after Christmas and the return to classes.

However, Dr Peter Jüni, scientific director of the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s “Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron” that he does not believe that will be the case.

“When I look at what’s happening right now and when I see what’s happening in Europe, the probability that we reduce them by mid-January is close to 0%,” he said. “We’re just going to have a bump on Christmas. We’re going to have a bit of a challenge. Things will hopefully get better with the third dose rollout… so, taken together, this is this. It just means that the certificates here will last longer than January.”

Jüni has previously said that these certifications are temporary and he still believes they will be phased out in Ontario, but it will likely be spring when that happens.

“Vaccine plus mask certificate in spring. I’ll bet on that,” he said.

The province said it intends to begin lifting the remaining public health measures around the end of March 2022, including regulations for indoor face masks and any remaining vaccine certification requirements.

The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kieran Moore said in October that by March many of the province’s health plans would come to fruition.

“By March, we hope we’ve maximized our vaccination strategy in Ontario that we have so many more Ontarians immunized that this virus has no host in which it can reproduce. “We’re going to complete a third dose strategy, and we’re going to be at a very good point where we’ll be able to look at the data,” he said. data to consider the safe opening of all of Ontario,” he said.

Premier Doug Ford also mentioned that there needs to be some reward for Ontarians for maintaining behaviors that have prevented the worst of the pandemic.

“It has to be a two-way street. You know, people all over Ontario have to have interests to see all the hard work they’ve done and they can see the difference. But let me. reinforce the word cautious. We are always cautious; I will be extremely cautious. If we don’t see the numbers in a stable place, we won’t do it. It’s as simple as that,” he said. speak.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health said the province expected an increase in cases this winter, hospital capacity remained stable and active cases were below average. of the whole country. All of this will influence decisions about easing restrictions.

“There’s no doubt that the coming months will require continued vigilance, with many jurisdictions struggling as they continue to face a fourth wave of COVID-19. That’s why Ontario is here to stay. continues to take a different approach by maintaining strong public health measures such as indoor mask wearing and proof of immunization requirements to reach higher-risk facilities. I will continue to monitor the key public health and wellness metrics to keep Ontarians safe and ensure that workplace and public health safety measures continue to be lifted. safely quit,” the statement said.

Jüni says authorities to contain virus in Ontario

In Europe, cases are on the rise. Cases are up 36% in the Netherlands, Italy is imposing new restrictions on the unvaccinated, and Germany is approaching 100,000 deaths from the virus. In recent days, several European countries have erupted in protests against virus regulations in several European countries.

Jüni said Ontario has performed much better as mandates remain in place but he stressed that the pandemic is not over and a post-Christmas bump in cases is inevitable.

“There will be a crash. That’s for sure,” he said.

The key to avoiding a serious increase, he said, is to refrain from behaviors that put themselves at risk and get more people vaccinated.

“I hope that we will all be a little more disciplined with wearing masks, with even a little more people vaccinated, so that the rollout of vaccines for children goes well, so that we entered early Christmas with a relatively stable number of cases,” he said.

According to the scientific panel, cases in Ontario are doubling every 36 days, which has improved in recent weeks. In early November, cases were doubling about every two weeks.

Jüni is also urging anyone eligible for a third dose to seek one before the holiday season.

“We still have a really low rate of absorption of the third dose and it’s extremely important for people over 70, such as immunocompromised people or people who have had more than eight or nine months since From the second dose, they need the third dose now and there’s still plenty of time before Christmas.”

Earlier this month, Jüni’s suggested storage limit may need to be “tweaked” in some settings. He said on Wednesday addressing it at the local level was the correct strategy.

“We can adjust in places that are really difficult, and there are some in the province that we need to worry about,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessary to do it at the provincial level.”

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