- Although Premier Doug Ford stated this week that his government has no plans to change the definition of “fully vaccinated” from two to three doses, the head of Ontario’s COVID-19 scientific advisory desk is urging him to do so.
Even though Premier Doug Ford said this week that his govt was not planning to change the definition of “fully vaccinated” from 2 to 3 doses, the head of Ontario’s COVID-19 scientific advisory table is urging the province to do so.
In an interview with CBC News, Dr. Peter Jüni, the table’s scientific director, stated, “Two doses of the vaccine kept going to protect quite well against the hospital and also ICU admissions, but there’s absolutely no relevant safety against infection.”
Jüni points out that the objective of Ontario’s proof of immunization certificate was not only to keep the people out of hospitals but also to prevent the transmission in high-risk settings — something which has become much more difficult with the highly contagious Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, which has caused a wave of cases, hospitalizations, intensive care admittance, and also deaths over the past month.
His remarks come after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a plan to reopen the province on Thursday. Many indoor settings, such as restaurants, bars, and gyms, will restart with 50% capacity limits starting January 31.
Capacity restrictions in all indoor spaces requiring vaccination proof will be lifted on February 21. There will be a 25% capacity cap in high-risk settings requiring immunization proof, such as nightclubs.
Finally, on March 14, all indoor capacity restrictions will be lifted. Wherever proof of vaccination requirements is already in place, it will be retained.
The province and the federal govt have yet to agree on a new definition.
During the reopening announcement on Thursday, Ford stated that the province will not be changing the guidelines to three doses just yet. Teresa Tam, Canada’s Medical Officer of Health, said earlier this month that federal health officials were also not considering a change.
However, changing the definition of fully vaccinated is “the next logical thing to do now that Omicron is dominant,” Juni says.
Three new studies published in the United States on Friday added to the growing body of evidence that 3 shots are more effective in preventing hospitalization and infection caused by the Omicron variant.
Previous research, including research in Germany, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, is echoed in the papers.
The change would be ‘confusing,’ according to an expert.
However, Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, believes that changing the definition of “fully vaccinated” would be “confusing.”
“We don’t know if annual booster shots will be required in the future,” he said in an interview this week.
Jha prefers that the province issue guidelines on the number of vaccinations required in various settings.
“I’d feel at ease sitting next to someone who claimed to have been double vaxxed.”
When the province is not experiencing a wave of infectious diseases, he says three doses should be the standard in places like long-term care homes and hospitals, but two shots should suffice in bars, restaurants, and sporting venues.
“Keeping [two doses] as a standard should suffice if our goal is to restore our normal economic and social activity.”
Source: CBC News
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