Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned on Friday that while COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in Canada, the end of the pandemic or the "disappearing" of the virus will not happen anytime soon.
"A pandemic is a global phenomenon and Canada alone cannot determine that," Dr. Tam said. "But in our domestic context, we know that while Canada has had an escalation in our vaccinations, many countries haven’t got there as yet."
"Until the world is vaccinated the virus is not going to disappear anytime soon."
Canada's chief public health officer stressed that she is looking for Canada to move past the "crisis phase" of the pandemic, meaning that public health responses do not have to escalate repeatedly to deal with "massive surges in virus activity."
The indicators Dr. Tam is watching include case rates, the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates, and the impact on hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths.
As questions continue to be raised about the more transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant, Dr. Tam said if public health measures are relaxed this variant could "take off" and become the dominant variant in Canada.
"This variant is important at this time because there is some evidence, although not a large amount of evidence, but some both from a laboratory perspective but also some real-life data coming out of the United Kingdom, to suggest that one dose of vaccines provides some protection, but not quite as good as two doses," she said.
"This is why it’s important to remind everybody to get a second dose."