Canada criticized for deployment of Covid-19 vaccine

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OTTAWA – Canadian officials are working to catch up on their quest to vaccinate vulnerable people against Covid-19, after an initial deployment that many public health officials criticize as slow and disorganized.
While Canada was quick to order vaccines and approved the use of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE in early December – two days before the United States allowed it -, the country has fallen behind many of its peers in developed countries in administering vaccines.
Just over 0.5% of the population of the northern neighbor of the United States was vaccinated on Wednesday. By comparison, the United States had vaccinated 1.6% of its population by that date, and Israel had inoculated over 18%, according to Our World in Data, a nonprofit research project at the University of Oxford. The UK had vaccinated around 1.9% of its population as of January 3, the latest date for which vaccination numbers were available.
Public health experts say Canadian officials have struggled to move vaccine doses quickly from industrial freezers where they are to be stored to long-term care facilities where elderly residents are among the first designated vaccines. The rollout was complicated by a decentralized health system run by individual provinces and territories and by Ontario’s decision to suspend vaccinations in the country’s most populous province for two days during the holidays.
The head of the provincial government’s vaccine task force, retired General Rick Hillier, later said the hiatus was the wrong decision, made in hopes long-term care homes would have fewer staff available to receive vaccine doses during the holidays.

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