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Top doctor says vaccines could allow toughest restrictions to lift before September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam looks at a giant screen showing data during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada Friday January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says results from COVID-19 vaccinations so far are encouraging enough that she thinks the need for massive lockdowns could be over before the end of the summer.

But Dr. Theresa Tam says some of the more personal measures, like wearing masks and limiting close contact outside our households, may be with us longer.

Tam says there are several factors that will determine when Canadians can return to something more closely resembling a normal life, including new COVID-19 variants and how quickly fast vaccines are injected.

Canada is aiming to vaccinate all who want to be by September.

But Tam says she is hopeful some of the most difficult restrictions could disappear even before that goal is reached, given the positive results vaccines are showing so far.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is hopeful lockdowns won’t be needed in his country after June 21, but Tam wouldn’t put a specific date on that step for Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press