According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, federal scientists refused to speak with Canada’s doctors on pandemic planning because of the election. The chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said she could not discuss the incident.

"I can’t speak to the exact nature of the interactions with the Canadian Medical Association Journal," said Tam. "We are trying to help."

The Journal on September 2 said both Tam and the chair of an expert panel on vaccinations declined multiple requests for interviews and briefings because of the election campaign, reported Blacklock's. The Department of Health "has a long history of restricting access to government scientists," wrote the Journal.

Mark Johnson, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency, told the Journal on August 25 that Tam wasn’t taking interviews, but reporters could "check back after Thanksgiving." The periodical said it "has been trying since July to arrange an interview with National Advisory Committee on Immunization chair Dr. Shelley Deeks about COVID booster shots and vaccinations for young children, among other evolving issues," and was again denied access.

Although the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is an independent scientific advisory group, spokesperson Johnson initially offered a Public Health Agency official to speak for Deeks and later dismissed the interview request "in light of the election."

On Friday, Tam said, "it’s very important to speak to reporters," but did not comment on why she would not speak with the Canadian Medical Association.

"Don’t you think you have a responsibility to provide the public with these crucial updates during this election?" asked a reporter. Tam replied: "To me, this is great timing to be interacting with all of you."

The Public Health Agency, in a technical report Update On Covid-19 In Canada: Epidemiology And Modeling, counted 5.2 million Canadians who have declined vaccination to date, not including 4.8 million school children under 12 who are ineligible for a COVID shot. Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, said current rates of vaccination were insufficient as cases rise.

"We’re watching very carefully what’s happening with the fourth wave, and unfortunately, you can see the trends are in the wrong direction," he said.

"No one wants to go back into lockdowns or the more severe measures that everyone remembers during the second and third wave, but in order to do that, we can control that future," said Njoo. "That gets back to vaccination."

"The original target, we were talking about 75, 80 percent where we could start loosening public health measures. Now we’re saying you need to go much higher. Shoot for the stars. Go for 100 percent vaccine coverage."