Local Journalism Initiative
The NDP today called for the province to open up booster shots for COVID-19 to all people who want them and for the province to have a detailed plan for omicron.
The omicron variant is highly contagious – even more so than delta – although not yet proven to be more severe in symptoms.
“We’ve also learned how important it is that we don’t wait until we’re in a crisis before we act. It is absolutely necessary that we don’t wait until hospitals are full before we try to keep people safe,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili at a press conference on Dec. 13.
“What does that omicron plan look like? It looks like getting that third dose to everyone as soon as we can. Let’s know our what exact quantities of supply are and what the schedule is so that we can get everyone 12 and older that third dose.”
As of Dec. 13, everyone who is 50 and older is eligible as are health care workers, people in the far north or living on First Nation communities and people born in 2009 or later with underlying health conditions.
The province said last week that everyone 18 and older will be eligible in early 2022, but has not set a specific date yet.
Meili said that the most up to date information on omicron and the effectiveness of existing vaccines show that the third dose can still offer good protection.
The current vaccines were based on the original virus which has mutated multiple times since March of 2020. Efficacy is lower but they are still effective at preventing serious illness and death.
Full vaccination also needs to mean three doses and not two, said Meili, while acknowledging that could take time as the vaccines need to be administered and given two weeks for full effectiveness.
“As we learn more about the omicron variant and the effectiveness of vaccines, we’ve learned that three is the new two,” Meili said. “Will we see proof of vaccine showing that three doses is fully vaccinated now? When will that be able to be something that is required?”
He added that he would like to a more detailed plan on what will be done if cases start to rise as the health care system has not yet recovered from the fourth wave.
“We’re not seeing an accelerated schedule to get us to those third doses and we don’t know what else this government would do,” Meili said.
“As we see cases start to rise what would their choices be to keep us safe? Over and over again we’ve had to wait until it’s too late and we can’t do that again.”