The question that everyone has been asking for over a year now is: When will things return to normal?
The answers often include assumptions, preferred thinking and a reality that crushes hope.
But over the next two and a half weeks, every adult in Quebec will be able to book an appointment to receive a dose of a Govt-19 vaccine.
So, for the first time, public health officials and professionals can begin to draw up a response that includes a definite timeline and very realistic scenarios.
They say the removal of infection controls, however, should be done gently and slowly. The smaller the margin of error, the more contagious variations there are.
“We are working on a project [for lifting measures] But we need to be more vigilant, “said Health Minister Christian Dubey, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.
Dr. Theresa Tom, Canada’s chief public health officer, recently said that once the vaccination campaigns cross a border, more restricted measures can be phased out.
Citing a modeling done by his department, he said that 75 per cent of the adult population will cross the threshold when partially vaccinated and 20 per cent fully vaccinated.
“These models give us confidence that this summer, if enough people are vaccinated, there is a safe way to elevate more restricted public health practices, such as some workplace and business closures,” Tom said.
Quebec expects 75 percent of its adult population to be partially vaccinated by June 24.
But don’t start circling party dates on the calendar just yet. Dr. Matthew Otten, an epidemiologist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, said public health officials should also be on the lookout for time to develop immunity and the expiration of infection cycles.
“Before you allow precautionary relaxations, people should be vaccinated a) and then b) you should allow enough time for their immunity to be vaccinated,” said Octane, who is an assistant professor at McGill University.
It takes about two weeks for people to develop protection after receiving the vaccine dose, and three weeks to intercept the virus transmission chains.
That means early Quebec deregulation could be expected in mid-or late June, Octen said.
On Thursday, Quebec Director of Public Health Dr. Horacio Aruda warned that there was no “magic number” of vaccines, at which time measures could be safely relaxed.
He said his recommendations to the government would be based on a number of factors, including infection rates, ongoing outbreaks and vaccine protection.
“There are so many unknown and unthinkable things we can’t control,” Aruda said.
Do not forget the second dose
Although case numbers and hospitalizations are currently declining, the consensus among experts is that the process of deregulation is yet to begin.
The samples released on Thursday by Quebec’s public health agency INSPQ predict that those trends will continue as the mass vaccination effort accelerates.
Watch | Quebec is expanding its vaccination program to those over 18 years of age
But University Privilege Modeling expert Mark Prison, with INSPQ, said public health measures were still needed in the interim to prevent an increase in cases.
“For these optimistic predictions to actually happen, there must be a high level of security, while public health measures must be well followed,” Prison said.
There is also a risk that the public will overestimate what social activities are safe after a single dose of the vaccine. Epidemiologist Pratibha Paral said it would be a recipe to undo most of the progress made in recent weeks.
“Just because more people are vaccinated doesn’t mean we can start indoor meetings; it doesn’t mean we can leave our masks on,” said Paral, who holds a doctorate from Johns Hopkins. Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland.
Octen expects Quebec to take a similar approach to disease control centers in the United States and to issue guidelines surrounding the mask and social interactions once enough members of the public have one or two levels.
Critics point out that Canadian governments have not yet done so, despite vaccination campaigns that have been going on since the winter, but Octane notes that the United States is ahead of Canada in its efforts.
“In general, one of the differences that separates Canada from the states is that in Canada, we’re done much of this late second measure,” Octane said.
The safety of delivering the first dose of a vaccine decreases over time. Quebec has seen small-scale explosions in long-term care homes, most recently, a Hospital, Staff were waiting for the second dose.
“If you want to avoid … when you see that story coming out again and again, you will be advised to be very careful in easing the action because partial vaccination is not the same as full vaccination,” Octane said.