BARRIE, ONT. -- The number of COVID-19 variants continues to grow across Ontario, but according to infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch that doesn’t mean a third wave is likely.

Madison: How many vaccines are we expected to see this week?

Dr. Bogoch: The vaccine centres are gearing up and have been gearing up because we now have more vaccines coming into the province. The rate of vaccinations is much greater than it was the past week. With the slowdowns, we are vaccinating just over 15,000 a day.

Madison: In terms of rollout, when do you think people in their 80s at home will be able to roll up their sleeves?

Dr. Bogoch: This will likely start at the very beginning of March. As the program gets online people will have the opportunity to sign up through phone or a web-based application, and then they will be able to sign up for a spot.

We probably won’t see that signup up and running until the very table end of February.

Madison: And when do you think the general public will be able to get the shot?

Dr. Bogoch: This is going to start rolling out in a very phased manner. So, we know stage two is really going to prioritize the older side of the population moving down in five-year increments. It will also prioritize congregate settings. It will prioritize different communities disproportionately impacted, for example, some radicalized communities that have been hit hard by the virus.

As spring moves into summer, we will reach a point where basically anyone who hasn’t had a vaccine and wants a vaccine will be able to get one.

Madison: In Simcoe Muskoka, we are entering our second week in the red. York Region opens up in the red today.

What are the risks as we reopen?

Dr. Bogoch: This is one of those times you have to proceed with caution. There is still very little immunity in the population either from natural infection and recovery or by vaccination. People have sacrificed a lot to get us on this downward trajectory to see us sustain a reduction in the number of new cases each day.

There is no reason to have a third wave. There is no reason to have another lockdown. This is completely preventable. If they use the emergency brake wisely, if they haunt transmission quickly, this can all be prevented.