#Canada; #PublicHealth; #Covid19Vaccine; #PhysicalDistancing; #MaskWearing
Ottawa, Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): During her daily news briefings, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer said that COVID-19 vaccine should not be expected by the Canadians to be a "silver bullet" that will bring a swift end to the coronavirus pandemic and a return to normal.
Tam Theresa. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Reiterating the significance of physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and mask-wearing, Tam said,
"We can't at this stage just put all of our focus [on a vaccine] in the hopes that this is the silver bullet solution."
"We're going to have to manage this pandemic certainly over the next year, but certainly [we are] planning for the longer term of the next two to three years during which the vaccine may play a role but we don't know yet," said Tam in her daily briefings.
At this stage it is unclear, added Tam, about the effectiveness of the vaccine, the degree and duration of immunity provided by the vaccine, the required dosage, and weather it will prevent people from being infected altogether or simply prevent severe illness requiring hospitalization.
Tam added that even when we get a vaccine deemed to be both safe and effective, challenges about distributing these widely would still be there.
"It's likely that there won't be enough vaccines for the population," said Tam. "So there'll be prioritization and we're looking at that."
Public health officials say that safety measures including physical distancing to limiting crowd sizes, could be required for at least next several years.
"[A vaccine] is one important layer of protection," said Tam. "It is a very important solution if we get a safe and effective vaccine, but I would say that the public health measures that we have in place — the sort of personal, daily measures that we take — is going to have to continue."
For Health officials, reopening of schools in September, is one of the busiest areas of planning said Tam and added detailed guidelines by the Public Health Agency of Canada will be published later this week.
"The recommendations will undergo evolution as the evidence changes and we'll also have to see what happens as we understand transmission in different age groups and what happens in schools." said Tam. "We may have to adapt this recommendation as we go along."
Tam said despite its imperfections, the COVID Alert exposure notification app is one of many tools available to fight the pandemic, and that people should use them.
"Despite these gaps, we need to have a go at using it," said Tam. "As many people who can download it and use it as possible will make the app more successful."
More than 1.1 million people had downloaded the app, the government said Aug 3.