Several politicians and experts have said the federal government should provide a framework for determining what behavior is considered safe for vaccinated adults, similar to what was published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In mid-May, the CDC relaxed mask-wearing rules for fully vaccinated Americans, allowing them to stop wearing a face mask outdoors during meetings and in most areas. The CDC also provided a list of activities that are safe for people who have been vaccinated, but may be dangerous for those who are not.
The Ontario Department of Health said Monday that while its roadmap for reopening includes recommendations for specific provinces, it would welcome federal guidance for individuals.
Just as the CDC issued guidelines in the United States, we continue to urge Health Canada and (Public Health Canada) to issue guidelines for fully vaccinated people.
To convince doubters?
Azim Sharif, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, says data from the United States shows that lifting restrictions on fully vaccinated people could force people hesitant to get vaccinated to take action.
Given the importance of immunizing as large a percentage of the population as possible, it is useful to use this incentive.– he commented by e-mail.
Dr. Nazim Muhajarin, professor of public health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, believes the federal government should provide general guidance on what people can and cannot do after being vaccinated with two doses.
However, he believes that more people should receive a second dose and that more data is needed on the efficacy of the variant vaccine before large gatherings can be resumed and mask restrictions lifted, even for fully immunized people.
Some of these guidelines assume that vaccines will remain effective against variants, and I think it is too early to reach that conclusion.– he said in a telephone interview.
Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at McGill University Medical Center, argues that creating a separate set of restrictions for fully vaccinated people is a risky idea. He says the guidelines issued in the United States are difficult to enforce and have caused many people to abandon masks and distance themselves, whether vaccinated or not.
We need to counterbalance the fact that we are only 12.5% fully immunized and that many people have selective hearing, and if the federal government announces its plan too early, you risk creating a bit of chaos.
Stephen Hoption Kann, clinical professor at the University of British Columbia (School of Population and Public Health), argues that the emergence of new variants, such as the Delta variant, which some believe may be more resistant to vaccines, suggests that vaccination rates are only part of the solution to the puzzle.
If you look at highly vaccinated populations like the UK, you will see that their number has increased over the last month despite vaccinations, simply because new options have emerged.– he declared.
He said the system that allows provinces to set their own health rules is working well, and he believes the federal government should focus on travel and border restrictions.
In a statement, Public Health Canada reiterated its previous recommendation that restrictions may begin to ease when transmission is low enough and vaccination rates reach 75% of residents eligible for the first dose and 20% for the second.
Public Health Canada will update its recommendations for lifting or tightening public health measures as new data is collected.
The federal government also said it plans to simplify quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in Canada in early July.
While most provinces and territories have the same restrictions on all citizens, some have gradually begun to set different standards for fully immunized people.
Manitoba announced last week that fully vaccinated residents will be allowed to travel to Canada without the province’s mandatory 14-day self-isolation period upon return. Likewise, Nunavut said fully vaccinated travelers will be free to enter and leave the area without being quarantined at a government hotel and without being tested for COVID-19.
Quebec said that as of June 25, people fully vaccinated with two doses no longer need to wear a mask or keep their distance from others during private household gatherings.
Meanwhile, provinces continued to ease restrictions on Monday as vaccinations increased. Ontario said it would reopen its borders with Quebec and Manitoba on Wednesday, while Quebec said it would also lift border controls.
Quebec has lowered its anxiety for many regions, including Montreal and Quebec, allowing limited indoor gatherings to resume and more people allowed to attend funerals, weddings and religious services.
New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have announced they are nearing the vaccination threshold needed to further ease restrictions, while Manitoba has expanded eligibility for a second dose of vaccine for anyone who received their first dose of vaccine no later than May 10.