Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday January 5, 2021 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health officer says she is preparing for “worst case scenario” COVID-19 variants, as early signs show a fall resurgence of the virus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday January 5, 2021 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health officer says she is preparing for “worst case scenario” COVID-19 variants, as early signs show a fall resurgence of the virus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Officials eyeing COVID-19 variant evolution as early signs point to fall resurgence

Tam says there has been slight uptick recently in people opting to get booster shots

Canada’s chief public health officer says she is preparing for “worst-case scenario” COVID-19 variants, as early signs show a fall resurgence of the virus.

At the House of Commons health committee, Dr. Theresa Tam says the Public Health Agency of Canada is keeping a careful eye on the evolution of Omicron variants, which are the most common subvariants in the country.

Tam says in the early days of the pandemic the virus would mutate in all sorts of ways, because there was no immunity from previous infection or vaccines.

Now, she says, the mutations have been constrained as the virus is pressured to find ways to evade immunity.

Tam says the worst-case scenario is that variants find a way to sidestep the effectiveness of vaccines and treatment with monoclonal antibodies.

She says there appears to be a slight uptick recently in people opting to get booster shots, now that they offer protection against more recent strains of the virus.

—Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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