Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on May 4, 2021


May 4, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create stress and anxiety for many Canadians, particularly those who do not have ready access to their regular support networks. Through the Wellness Together Canada online portal, people of all ages across the country can access immediate, free and confidential mental health and substance use supports, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Last week the world reached an amazing milestone of over 1 BILLION vaccines administered and today we'd like to give a shout out to the millions of Canadians, who have been stepping up to get vaccinated and the many among them who are actively helping others by sharing credible information and assisting in other ways. But first, the numbers update.

To date, over 1.2 million cases of COVID-19, including over 24,300 deaths have been reported in Canada. We are making progress nationally, but there are still a few tricky spots. The decline in national case counts has slowed to a less than 2% decrease over the past week, with an average of 7,900 cases reported daily. Unfortunately, the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness remains high. Over the past week, an average of almost 4,300 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, including over 1,450 people being treated in intensive care units. At the same time, an average of 47 deaths were reported daily.

Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines to include advice on the use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. As with the AstraZeneca vaccine, there have been confirmed cases of very rare but serious blood clots associated with low levels of blood platelets, known as Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT), after administration of the Janssen vaccine. At this time and based on current evidence, NACI recommends the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to individuals 30 years of age or older without contraindications, if the individual wants to receive a vaccine right away. The recommendations have been updated based on an assessment of the risk of VITT, COVID-19 exposure risk, and the potential benefits of earlier vaccination in preventing serious COVID-19 disease for various age groups. Provinces and Territories are currently planning to add this additional tool to their toolbox to help end the pandemic as soon as possible.

As we move through this rough period, we can be optimistic. As vaccine supply expands and more and more Canadians roll up a sleeve, there is a real sense of hope and solidarity in the air.

Recently a Canadian collaborative movement has popped up with a dedicated website and hashtag, aimed at getting more Canadians informed and motivated to get their shots. This Is Our is rallying Canadians across the country to encourage each other to replace vaccine hesitancy with confidence so that we can end the pandemic together! They have partnered with taskforces and doctors serving racialized and ethnic communities across Canada to address their questions and concerns by making information more accessible, including by offering resources in 28 different languages from Amharic to Vietnamese. Initiatives like these can inspire all of us to join the challenge that will help spread the message that, by getting vaccinated, we're taking action to end the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

But let's not forget there are also other things we all need to be doing to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safer. Regardless of our vaccination status, we all need to continue following public health advice and maintain individual wash-mask-space practices, even as we're beginning to see the positive impacts of COVID-19 vaccines.

This May the 4th and during the month of May, Canada's vaccine supplies are expanding - May the forth of immunity be with you!

Read my backgrounder to access COVID-19 Information and Resources , including information on vaccination and ways to reduce your risk of infection and spreading the virus to others.


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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