As Canada approaches its COVID-19 vaccination target for a "better" summer, the country's chief public health officer is looking ahead at vaccine benchmarks for fall.
"Every week we're getting closer to our initial target of 75 per cent of eligible Canadians getting their 1st dose of protection, and 20 per cent of those fully vaccinated, summer will be better," Dr. Theresa Tam tweeted on Saturday.
According to a CBC News tally, the figures currently stand at 65 per cent and roughly seven per cent, respectively, as of Friday.
With the country approaching its summer target, Tam offered vaccination hope for a "safer fall."
"The target of at least 75 per cent of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated is needed to protect health system capacity, but it should not be our ultimate goal," she said. "We can do better than that and should keep going and shoot for the stars!"
Tam pointed to several demographics in Canada that have already reached that mark, including in the territories, some Indigenous communities and Canadians over the age of 70.
Her comments come as several provinces are speeding up their second-dose rollouts as more vaccine supply pours into the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that large shipments of vaccines will continue through the summer, with more than two million Pfizer-BioNTech doses expected each week until the end of August.
Trudeau said nine million Pfizer doses will arrive in July, with another 9.1 million expected in August. He added that Canada has also negotiated an option for three million more Pfizer doses to be delivered in September.
Trudeau said he's been encouraged by the country's vaccine rollout, adding that Canadians have "reason to be hopeful about this summer and fall."
"The more people vaccinated, the safer we all are … so let's start looking forward to more of what we love, from camping to dinner with friends," he said.
What's happening across Canada
As of 2 p.m. ET Saturday, Canada had reported 1,390,782 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 25,734 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,706.
Manitoba logged 276 new COVID-19 cases and an additional death on Saturday.
Ontario registered 744 new cases and 24 more deaths.
Despite declining cases, experts in the province are concerned that the Delta coronavirus variant will take hold and become the dominant strain.
Quebec confirmed 228 new cases and four new deaths on Saturday.
As of Monday, people in Montreal and Laval will join much of the rest of the province in being able to go to gyms and eat in restaurant dining rooms.
New Brunswick's vaccination rate continues to increase, but the province is still far from meeting its goals for reopening.
On Saturday, Public Health reported that 475,353, or 68.5 per cent, of eligible residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but more than 44,000 people need to be vaccinated by Monday at midnight before the next stage of reopening can begin.
Prince Edward Island has now administered more than 100,000 vaccine doses.
Marion Dowling, P.E.I.'s chief of nursing, says Island vaccine rates are on target, with 60 per cent of its targeted population 12 and over having received at least one dose.
Nova Scotia reported 18 more infections on Saturday.
Starting Tuesday, incoming passengers at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport will be encouraged to take a voluntary rapid test.
Newfoundland and Labrador identified five cases as the province continues to monitor clusters in the Lewisporte and Stephenville and Bay St. George areas.
What's happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 172.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been recorded around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.7 million.
Japan has sent 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan, more than doubling the amount of shots that have been available to the island.
The vaccines landed at Taipei's main international airport on Friday afternoon, as 472 new infections were reported in Taiwan.
Australia's second-most populous state Victoria on Saturday reported a small increase in locally acquired COVID-19 cases.
Five new cases were reported, taking Victoria's total to 70 in the latest outbreak.
The state capital Melbourne has entered its second weekend of a hard lockdown, due to end on June 10. Restrictions were eased for the rest of the state on Friday.
In the United States, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Friday that the state will drop its quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers once 70 per cent of the state's population has been vaccinated against the disease.
Hawaii will also lift its requirement that people wear masks indoors once that level has been reached, he said.
The state Department of Health's website said 59 per cent of Hawaii's population has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 52 per cent finished their dosing regimen.
Currently, travellers arriving from out of state must spend 10 days in quarantine or, to bypass that quarantine, they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken before departure for the islands.
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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