OTTAWA: New modeling shows an "urgent need" to get more young adults in Canada vaccinated as the country fights a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections driven by the Delta variant, the public health agency said on Friday (Sep 3).
At the current rate of vaccination, new COVID-19 cases could surge past the peak of Canada's third wave and could exceed hospital capacity within months, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said.
The modeling showed a need to speed up the overall rate of vaccinations, particularly for the 18-39 age group, to reduce the impact of the Delta resurgence, PHAC said in a presentation.
"The bottom line is that millions of people across Canada remain unvaccinated and at high risk of COVID-19 infections and severe illness outcomes," said Canada's chief public health officer Theresa Tam.
The western province of Alberta said it will hand out C$100 (US$79.96) gift cards as an incentive to encourage unvaccinated Albertans to get jabs. It is the first province in Canada to offer cash to boost vaccination uptake.
Alberta has the lowest vaccination rate in Canada and leading the country in new COVID-19 cases, recording 1,339 new cases on Thursday.
"This is a crisis of the unvaccinated," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told a news conference on Friday. "You are putting yourselves and our healthcare system at risk."
The province is postponing non-essential surgeries as hospitals struggle to cope with a rising influx of coronavirus patients and is also reintroducing an indoor mask mandate to try and contain the virus.