Any easing of public health restrictions for visitors coming into Prince Edward Island this summer will also apply to Islanders who wish to travel, says P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison, but there is no timeline yet for those changes.
Morrison made the comments in her regular Thursday check-in interview with CBC News: Compass.
"If there's going to be a change in quarantine or travel, that will apply to everyone," she said. "But it is still early and that decision has not happened yet."
She noted Canada is in the grips of a third wave of COVID-19 and officials are in a race against the variants of concern, which are rapidly becoming dominant strains in many provinces. The latest wave is affecting younger Canadians more than previous waves.
"There may be different restrictions for those who are vaccinated versus those who are not," Morrison said.
Right now P.E.I. has a vaccine record — everyone who has been vaccinated is part of an immunization registry. Islanders who get the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to have a print-out or electronic version of their vaccination record, Morrison said. Finishing touches are being put on that plan, she said.
Scientists learning in real time
As evidence and epidemiology continue to evolve, scientists and decision-makers are learning more about the variants of concern, Morrison said, and they will continue to monitor the situation as summer nears.
"When it's safe, easing measures will be for Islanders as well as visitors," she said. "It's our hope ... that we will be able to ease up some of those restrictions," such as mandatory two-week isolation, limited gathering sizes and travel.
She said scientists are discovering in real time the effectiveness of one versus two doses of vaccines.
"We would not want to put changes in place until we have certain levels of vaccine coverage even for one dose, and then other measures may not change until we've had a sufficient high number of people who've had two doses," Morrison said.
Another area scientists are monitoring carefully is what are called "breakthrough infections": people who have been vaccinated for at least 14 days and who have still been infected or have transmitted COVID-19.
"It's one of the many things we are learning more about," Morrison said.
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