As early as December, before COVID-19 variants changed the course of the pandemic, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau boasted that he had procured enough potential vaccines to protect a population four times the size of Canada. But four months later, even two percent of Canada’s population of just under 38 million has been fully vaccinated and large parts of the country are returning to prison thanks to the brutal third wave.
Canada has registered nearly one million cases and 23,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Trudeau had hoped to vaccinate the population by June, but now says all Canadians who want a vaccine will receive one by the end of September. Canada is one of the only major economies in the world that has not tried to produce its own coronavirus vaccine.
In the meantime, the options are being validated.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a strong warning that even fully vaccinated Americans should avoid traveling to Canada. And if they still go for basic purposes, they should be tested three to five days after return. “This is not the news that none of us wanted, but hospitalizations are increasing, intensive care beds are filling up, options are spreading, and even people who are convinced they shouldn̵
It is even more worrying that most of the new cases seen in the hospital’s intensive care units are increasingly younger patients, according to Canada’s best health expert. “While COVID-19 continues to affect people of all ages in Canada, infection rates are highest among those aged 20 to 39,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement Wednesday. . “In addition, we are seeing an increase in the number of adults under the age of 60 being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including in intensive care units.”
So how can a country that ordered more vaccines per capita than anywhere else in the world now have such problems? Canada does not produce any vaccines on its territory – neither creates its own nor produces others – and the imported doses are simply not delivered. The Canadian state-owned vaccine manufacturer was privatized in the 1980s and was eventually bought by French company Sanofi, whose own vaccine efforts thwarted it.
Trudeau announced last week that Pfizer would finally start delivering one million doses a week after the United States released exports after it became clear that there were enough supplies for the Americans first. AstraZeneca has also promised to deliver 20 million of its increasingly controversial vaccine, which should also help launch a painfully slow release. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have also been approved for use in Canada, but have yet to be delivered in significant quantities.
Trudeau came under fire from angry Canadians after admitting early that the country would not be the first in line for vaccines because they do not produce them locally. Then, when the EU hit vaccine exports, Canada paid the price again for missed supplies. The Biden administration has not yet committed to exports to Canada or Mexico, and both are in short supply.