Majority of Canadians to Receive Vaccine by September 2021
Earlier today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced to press that he believes the majority of Canadians will have received vaccinations by September of next year. A sentiment that was later echoed by Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo, while also being called “optimistic” due to the number of unknowns still remaining.
One of the reasons for this optimism is the fact that Canada has potentially secured more vaccine candidate doses per capita than any other nation. Currently, Canada has agreements to procure 194 million doses of vaccine from 7 different developers, as well as options to purchase up to 220 million additional doses. With the vaccines requiring 2 doses per person (except the one from Johnson & Johnson, which only requires 1 dose), this would result in Canada potentially having more than 5x the amount needed to vaccinate the entire country!
Of course, none of the vaccines have been approved for use in Canada at this time, and only 3 of them have applied for emergency use authorization in Canada so far, or are even far enough along in their trials to speculate on their effectiveness. Regardless, there is the potential for Canada to have a significant volume of leftover vaccine by the end of next year. And in the event of there being volumes of vaccine leftover, Canada has a plan for what to do with it!
Inside sources claim that Canada is already discussing donating leftover vaccine to poorer countries through the COVAX Facility. While there is no arguing that such a move would be an act of charity in these difficult times, it is worth noting that it would also be an act of self-preservation as well as one of global security. As long as the virus exists anywhere in the world, it is a threat to everywhere in the world. It did not take the virus long to move from a single city in China to being found in every major region of the world.
Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of military leader Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin as head of the massive vaccine distribution effort that will be beginning in early 2021. While we do not yet know exactly when the vaccine will begin arriving for distribution in Canada, it is expected that between Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, Canada will receive 6 million doses (enough for 3 million people) within the first quarter of 2021. For perspective, 6 million doses could vaccinate about 8% of all Canadians or about half of the number of seniors over 65 years old living in Canada. Shipments of the vaccine will continue as well as increase in volume over the months to follow.
Many Canadians have expressed frustration over Canada’s delay in rolling out the life-saving vaccine, compared to places like the US or the UK, due to their local vaccine production. Concerns have also been raised over local Canadian vaccine developer Medicago’s lack of production capacity, and their need to partner with international production partners to meet their commitments. In a surprise announcement during a video game live-stream event, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP party, announced that in the following week he would be bringing up the need for Canada to have local medical production capacity again. A sentiment that might resonate strongly with many Canadians at this moment.
City of Vancouver Offers Suggestions on Declining Invitations
Normally around this time of year, it would be common to invite friends to visit, or catch up with family over shared meals… unfortunately with our new case numbers continuing to rise, and with current public health orders, spending time in person with friends and family will have to wait. The city of Vancouver has been kind enough to offer some suggestions on how you can politely decline risky invitations from people you care about:
$230 Fine for Not Wearing Mask on Transit
Translink has now changed their policy on mask-wearing to bring it in line with the recent public safety requirements. You can now be fined $230 for failing to wear a mask on any Translink vehicle, but also while waiting for transit at any indoor or sheltered stations or stops. Translink has also adjusted their policy in that face shields will no longer be considered an acceptable alternative to facemasks.
Exceptions will still be made for those who are unable to wear masks due to a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment. Children under 12 will also not be required to wear masks on transit, per the public safety order.
That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!