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

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Probe into TNRD spending taken over by federal police unit

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

An alleged suspect in two Cache Creek crimes was caught on surveillance camera in April 2021,and police are hoping someone can identify him. (Photo credit: RCMP)
Alleged suspect in Cache Creek crimes caught on video

Police are hoping someone can identify man who is a suspect in two Cache Creek incidents

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

electrical contact incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read