OTTAWA — Shooting down some of the optimism around a COVID-19 vaccine being discovered spelling the end of the pandemic, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says that vaccine or not, health officials are preparing to deal with the presence of the novel coronavirus and prevention of further spread for years to come.
While some heads of major pharmaceutical companies have said a vaccine could be ready before the end of the year, other experts have cautioned that even 2021 may be an unrealistic timetable.
Now, Canada’s leading health officials are saying even that estimate may be too optimistic.
“We’re planning, as a public health community, that we’re going to have to manage this pandemic certainly over the next year, but certainly it may be planning for the longer term on the next two to three years during which the vaccine may play a role. But we don’t know yet,” Tam told reporters on Tuesday.
“People might think that if we get a vaccine then everything goes back to normal the way it was before. That’s not the case… All of the measures we’ve put in place now will still have to continue with the new reality for quite some time,” Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.
“Certainly I think that we need to temper people’s expectations, thinking that the vaccines can be that silver bullet that will take care of everything, and everything we’ve done up to now won’t be necessary in the future,” said Njoo.