Wednesday morning’s weekly COVID-19 update was largely a delicate balancing act between optimism and caution.
The lockdown is almost over, but be careful. Meet with people, but not too many. Get out and enjoy summer, but continue to obey social distancing rules.
“Ontario has made great progress, but there is going to be pain if the Delta variant is not taken seriously,” said Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown. “We’re imploring the provincial government for second doses for essential workers.”
Brown said everyone needs to learn from the previous waves of COVID.
“We know how COVID spreads. It starts in warehouses and factories and then goes from there,” he said. “The average age of an essential worker is 36. But we’re only giving second doses to those aged 70 and over.”
Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, confirmed a single dose of vaccine is proving to be 33 to 50 percent effective against the Delta variant (formerly known as the India variant).
“It is not yet time to fully return to normal,” said Loh. “Canadians love summer, but we’ll have to show some patience.”
Loh said a total of 1.2 million vaccine doses have been given to Peel residents aged 18 and over; 72% of 18-plus have received at least one shot; 75% in hotspots; 81% of those aged 18-24; and 44% of 80-plus are fully vaccinated.
The most vaccine hesitant, thus far, are those aged 30-39, where the rate sits at 60%.
Loh said the region is ramping back up its vaccine rollout as supply begins to be replenished. He encouraged residents who are eligible to book second vaccines.
Loh also addressed the uncertainty around the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“There is supply of AstraZeneca for second doses,” he said. “However, the National Advisory Committee of Immunization is very clear that you can substitute a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, provided the interval has been met. Completing two doses, with either two doses of AstraZeneca or one AstraZeneca and one mRNA, are both effective. There is some indication slightly more resistance with a second mRNA, but also slightly more side effects. The reality is, either way, a second dose will provide you with better protection against COVID-19 and the variants that are cropping up.”
Brampton Civic Hospital currently has 23 active COVID patients, eight of them in ICU and 15 suspected cases, all dramatically lower numbers than what the hospital has dealt with over the last few months.