Generation-X Canadians flocked to make appointments for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as several provinces lowered the eligible age, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CPAC)

Generation-X Canadians flocked to make appointments for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as several provinces lowered the eligible age, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CPAC)

Trudeau says he’s planning to get the AstraZeneca vaccine

Trudeau announces planning to get AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Canada hit a new milestone for vaccinations, with 25 per cent of the population vaccinated with at least one dose, as the number of people climbed over 9.5 million Tuesday afternoon.

Generation-X Canadians flocked to make appointments for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as several provinces lowered the eligible age, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

But even as vaccinations were flowing, Ontario’s scientific advisers warned the province’s hospitals are “buckling” as hospitalizations and critical care loads continued to grow.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, reported record numbers of active cases, hospitalizations and patients in critical care across the country.

An average of almost 1,200 people are now in intensive care daily with COVID-19, about half of them on ventilators. On April 12, the most recent single-day statistics available, there was a one-day record of 599 people on ventilators due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 deaths also grew in the last week, to an average of 44 deaths per day, after sitting close to 30 people a day over the last two months.

Much of it is being driven by new variants, with more than 66,000 confirmed variant cases in Canada now, 96 per cent of them B.1.1.7. That is twice the number of confirmed variant cases just one week ago.

In a bid to keep even more variants from entering Canada, Trudeau said Tuesday the use of quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21, as will testing requirements for air and land-border arrivals.

He defended the government against criticism it didn’t move fast enough to enforce quarantines for travellers, but said they are considering additional measures.

“We are continuing to look at more and I have asked our officials to look carefully at, for example, what the U.K. has done very recently on suspending flights from India,” he said.

Although Canada’s borders are officially closed, thousands of people, mostly Canadians, still cross into the country every week. Health Canada says about one per cent of international air travellers are testing positive for COVID-19 during their three-day quarantine, but can’t yet provide data for how many tested positive after 10 days.

In the last two weeks, 117 international flights arrived with at least one passenger who later tested positive for COVID-19, including 29 flights from Delhi, 20 from the United States and 24 from Europe.

Provincial governments are also moving to restrict travel within Canada. Ontario and Nova Scotia are barring entry to non-essential travellers who aren’t residents, while British Columbia is looking at doing periodic police roadblocks at ferry terminals and Vancouver-area highways to discourage recreational travel even within the province.

Ontario reported almost 3,500 new cases Tuesday, the first time since April 12 the number was below 4,000. But hospitalizations, critical care admissions and patients on a ventilator all rose overnight, prompting new warnings from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table that hospitals are on the brink. The advisers said essential workers needed to be vaccinated faster and offered sick leave.

Public health chiefs in Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region moved on their own to order any workplace closed that has had five or more positive cases in the last two weeks.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province is examining what it can do to handle “gaps” in federal sick pay.

Elliott received her vaccine from AstraZeneca weeks ago, and now that Ontario is among the provinces that lowered the eligible age to 40, Trudeau and other federal leaders can now follow suit.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization cancelled a planned briefing to update its guidance on what age groups should get the AstraZeneca doses, as more information on the risk of very rare blood clots has now emerged. NACI is still deliberating on what advice to provide.

Three Canadians, including one newly reported in New Brunswick Tuesday, have now had the blood clots, out of more than 700,000 doses given. All three — a woman over 55 in Quebec, a man in his 60s in Alberta and a woman in her 30s in New Brunswick — are recovering at home.

Several provinces didn’t wait for NACI. Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and Manitoba all cut the age from 55 to 40, and Quebec is cutting it to 45 on Wednesday.

Trudeau, 49, told pharmacists during a virtual meeting Tuesday morning that he intends to be vaccinated at a pharmacy, publicly, as soon as his office can work out the details.

While Freeland was busy becoming the first female finance minister to table a budget in the House of Commons this week, she dispatched her kids to go online and find her an appointment.

“My daughter said we’re on a wait-list, so I have to check on that after this,” she said. “But as soon as I can, I’ll get mine too and I hope at a local pharmacy.”

O’Toole said he was booked for Saturday, while Singh is being vaccinated Wednesday.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna appeared to be fastest on the booking button, posting photos on social media Tuesday of herself getting the AstraZeneca shot in Ottawa.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Justin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls and Stettler County Reeve Larry Clarke sign a proclamation for International Economic Development Week which runs May 9th to 15th.
photo submitted
Stettler celebrates International Economic Development Week May 9th to 15th

The week builds awareness of the positive work economic developers do to enhance local economic impact

ALERT seized drugs and a variety of guns from a home in Lacombe on May 5 after an investigation. (Photo courtesy of ALERT)
Guns and drugs seized in Lacombe

Lacombe Police Service and ALERT worked together in a joint investigation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Trudeau is rejecting accusations from Alberta’s justice minister that his federal government is part of a trio rooting for that province’s health system to collapse due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau rejects Alberta cabinet minister accusation PM wants COVID-19 health disaster

Alberta has recently had COVID-19 case rates that are the highest in North America

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Jewish group extremely disturbed by reports of Hitler Youth flags in Alberta towns

RCMP spoke to the property owner, who refused to remove the flag

Alberta’s environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province’s official animal, the bighorn sheep. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Craig Bihrl
Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium, scientist says

Jeff Kneteman says Alberta Environment has known about the problem in bighorn sheep for years

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as supply dwindles

There aren’t any confirmed shipments of AstraZeneca coming, and the province only has 8,400 doses of it left

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Most Read