Dr. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief administrator of Public Health Canada, has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet.
“No, it’s not the end of the pandemic,” he replied at a press briefing when asked.
Njoo believes “the acute phase of the pandemic” has passed, but says the situation is changing and that COVID-19 cannot be considered a closed public health file.
“It’s good news that we see that the serious consequences, perhaps, with the variants that are in circulation at the moment, are less serious than they could have been before, but there are still high hospitalization and infection rates,” he said.
He took the opportunity to reiterate public health advice, such as obtaining a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if the time is right according to the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI ).
The group also published an update on Friday.
“When booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine are offered, they should be given at the recommended interval of at least six months after a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine or SARS CoV-2 infection (whichever is longer), since a longer delay between exposures to vaccine or infection could stimulate the immune response,” reads the statement released by NACI.
The advisory committee also specifies that bivalent vaccines are “the preferred booster products for all persons five and older.” A bivalent vaccine is designed to protect against the original strain of COVID-19 and subsequent variants.
“We will see what will happen because we do not know for the future. Treatments, research continue to be important,” Njoo added.
He concluded his explanation with a metaphor: “At the end of the day, I say no, this is not the end of the pandemic. We must continue as it is too early to, as they say, put away our coats and our winter boots.”