COVID-19 delta variant increases urgency of getting vaccinated, says Morrison

·2 min read
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison warned about a possible fourth wave with the delta variant. (CBC - image credit)
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison warned about a possible fourth wave with the delta variant. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is urging Islanders to get vaccinated in order to help prevent a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morrison was speaking at a regular COVID-19 pandemic briefing Tuesday morning.

The delta variant is predicted to become the dominant strain of the coronavirus over the summer, said Morrison. Delta spreads up to twice as quickly as other variants, and is more likely to infect people with just one dose of vaccine, she said.

"National modelling indicates that vaccine uptake will need to be higher than originally thought in order to prevent the spread of the more infectious delta variant," said Morrison.

P.E.I. remains on track to have 50 per cent of Islanders aged 12 and up fully vaccinated by the end of the month, she said. The province has all the mRNA vaccines it needs to reach this goal, and she urged Islanders to make and keep their vaccination appointments.

"Do it for yourself. Do it for your family and friends. Do it so our children can return to school safely. Do it to keep businesses open, and do it to prevent a fourth wave," said Morrison.

With 85.7 per cent of eligible Islanders having received at least one dose of vaccine, Morrison remains confident the Island can reach its goal of 80 per cent fully vaccinated.

Morrison said it is important to give notice if you cannot make a vaccination appointment, because that appointment is an opportunity for someone else to get the vaccine.

Second appointments

Islanders who received their first vaccine shot before June 30 should have received a call about their second appointment by now, said Health PEI Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling. Anyone who has not been contacted should call either public health or their local pharmacy, depending on where they received their first dose.

Starting Wednesday, Islanders will be able to cancel and rebook public health clinic appointments online.

Since P.E.I. opened up to Atlantic Canada June 27, Morrison said, more than 95,000 people have been screened at the border. Rapid COVID-19 tests were administered to over 28,400, and no positive cases have been confirmed.

P.E.I. has seen 208 cases of COVID-19, and has had no active cases since July 13.

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