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

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

Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

Canada has secured 35 million booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for next year, and another 30 million in the year after.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024.

Trudeau says the country must be prepared in case they are needed.

Booster shots are expected to be important as the virus continues to mutate, similar to how the flu shot is altered every year to be effective against the most dominant strain.

The announcement came as Canada’s top public health doctor said there are signs the epidemic is easing, although average COVID-19 case counts have more than doubled over the past month.

Dr. Theresa Tam said the success of the vaccine rollout will likely determine whether restrictive COVID-19 measures can be lifted this summer.

She presented new modelling Friday that suggests strict measures in several provinces meant to contain more contagious variants have curbed the recent surge.

Tam said these hot-spot regions may be able to emerge from lockdown in time for people to take full advantage of the warm weather.

But for that to happen without overwhelming hospital capacity, at least 75 per cent of Canadian adults will have to receive their first shot, including 20 per cent who would be fully vaccinated, according to the federal forecasts.

“These models give us hope, illustrating that there is a safe way to lift most restrictive public health measures,” Tam told reporters. “This is why it is so important to roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated.”

Tam estimated that Canada could reach this goal around mid-July to August but said that depends on whether vaccine shipments arrive on schedule.

The latest numbers indicate that nearly 30 per cent of Canadian adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Average COVID-19 case counts have more than doubled over the past month, with upwards of 8,400 infections reported daily over the last week.

But Tam said there’s reason for hope due to Canada’s declining reproduction rate, which represents how many people are infected by each new case.

This measure has fallen below the key threshold of one for the first time in weeks, meaning the rate of transmission is trending downwards.

Tam said hard-hit provinces including Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have made strides in driving down infection rates. But she said continued vigilance will be critical to maintaining this progress.

Earlier Friday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu received her first dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The prime minister and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau were set to receive their first shots of AstraZeneca later in the day.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka Kids Summer Camp registration opens next week

Registration opens next week for the Ponoka Youth Centre/ Boys and Girls… Continue reading

Town of Ponoka logo
Town council approves 2021 capital and operating budgets

Ponoka town council approved the 2021 capital and operating budgets at its… Continue reading

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man to apply to withdraw manslaughter guilty plea

Tyler John Campbell wants to change plea after judge rejected seven-year sentence

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as supply dwindles

There aren’t any confirmed shipments of AstraZeneca coming, and the province only has 8,400 doses of it left

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read