Shomporko Online News Desk: According to national data, more than half of all Canadians who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine have been fully vaccinated with both required doses.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker showed that 50.4 percent of Canadians aged 12 and up — more than 16,751,000 persons — had received two doses as of Monday evening. This amounts to roughly 44% of the overall population.
Even larger numbers are being reported in several provinces. In Manitoba, more than 57% of people aged 12 and up have been fully vaccinated, while Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and the three territories have also reached 50%.
Second doses have accelerated across Canada. Over the past month, the share of the total population that has been fully inoculated has quadrupled.
Meanwhile, the pace for first doses has slowed compared to the surge seen in the spring. The past 30 days have seen vaccinations increase by just over five per cent of the population, compared to nearly 24 per cent during the 30 days before.
Just over 79 per cent of eligible Canadians, or close to 69 per cent of the total population, have received at least one dose.
Health officials have stressed the importance of getting a second shot in order to combat the more transmissible Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, which has proven to be more resistant to a single dose.
Yet vaccinations have continued to bring down COVID-19 cases across the country.
On Monday, 296 new infections were reported, the lowest daily number since Aug. 23 of last year. Less than 450 new cases were reported per day on Saturday and Sunday as well.
The latest data has brought the seven-day average down to 451.6 cases per day — a number also not seen since the end of last August.
Only two new deaths were confirmed over the past 24 hours: one in Manitoba, the other in Yukon. The seven-day average for new deaths has fallen to 10.
Hospitalizations are also diving overall, falling to 521 on Monday from 612 the previous week.
Local governments are responding to the plummeting case counts by lifting public health restrictions in an effort to get their economies back to normal.
On Sunday, Saskatchewan — which had just 19 cases on Monday — became the second province in the country to lift all remaining restrictions.
Alberta, which saw 30 new cases, was the first to fully reopen on Canada Day. The Calgary Stampede has been allowed to take place under some limited restrictions.
Manitoba, which saw 31 new infections Monday, is expected to announce the next step in its own reopening plan this week.
Ontario will allow gyms and restaurants to resume indoor operations this Friday while raising capacity limits for indoor social gatherings. The step comes days early as the province, which reported 114 new cases Monday, meets its vaccination targets ahead of expectations.
More restrictions were lifted on Monday in Quebec, including the expansion of physical distancing limits and the removal of caps on the indoor capacity for retail stores. The province reported 52 new cases the same day.
Only one new case was reported across Atlantic Canada on Monday, in Nova Scotia, although Newfoundland and Labrador did not report any data due to the Orangemen’s Day holiday.
Nova Scotia is set to move into Phase 4 of its reopening plan on Wednesday, which will see a loosening of mask rules and normal operating rules for restaurants, retail stores, and gyms.
In British Columbia, where more limitations were loosened at the beginning of July, another 30 instances were disclosed. All remaining public health orders will be lifted in September, according to the province.
Between Friday and Monday, the Yukon reported 19 new infections as part of an outbreak linked to the Gamma type, which was initially found in Brazil. There were no new cases in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.
COVID-19 has been confirmed in 1,421,127 people in Canada thus far. There have been 26,439 deaths and 1,389,546 survivors.