How Canada climbed to the top for the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine – –

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How Canada climbed to the top for the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine – –


For months now, the famous American cardiologist and researcher Eric Topol has been closely monitoring the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. And he is full of praise for his neighbor’s rapid and sudden climb to the top.
His frequent praise for Canada can be found on Twitter, including a recent tweet praising the country for “pulling out, setting a new pace and a new cap for first-dose vaccinations from major countries.”

It’s a rise that he says is mainly due to “the culture” of Canada.

In an interview with CBC News, Topol said Canadians are more science-oriented, less hesitant about vaccines and certainly less likely to be “anti-vaxx” than those in his own country.

But other experts note that it is actually a confluence of factors that has put Canada on track to become the world leader in the share of its population inoculated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. .

According to the online research publication Our World in Data, Canada has just put Israel at the top of the world pack, after distributing at least one dose to more than 64% of its citizens. Israel, now behind Canada, administered the first doses to 63% of its citizens.

‘Really no magic in that’

“There really is no magic in it, there is no pivot,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease specialist and member of the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

“It’s really a team effort at the federal, provincial and local levels. And we have a pretty impressive capacity to deliver vaccines very quickly in the country, ”he said.

“So when the vaccines actually get into the country, we can get them into the hands of the citizens very, very quickly – and that’s what you’re looking at right now. “

There are, however, some important caveats, according to Edouard Mathieu, who is the data manager of Our World in Data.

The increase in Canada has mostly happened because of its strategy of betting on vaccinating as many people as possible with a first dose and delaying the second dose, he said in an email to CBC. News.

“This means Canada now has one of the lowest first to second dose ratios in the world,” he said.

Still, some experts say providing partial protection to more Canadians with just one dose helped bring down our booming third wave across much of the country at a critical time.

At the start of the global immunization campaign, Canada was lagging behind other countries. Just a few months ago, by early March, Canada had vaccinated just under four percent of its population with a single dose – slightly behind France (4.7%) and Germany and the Italy (5.1% each), but a good distance from the United States (15.2%), United Kingdom (30.5%) and Israel (55%).

“The pace has accelerated considerably”

According to Mathieu, this lasted until April 1, when “the pace of vaccinations in Canada accelerated considerably”.

As of that date, an average of 188,000 people received a dose each day in Canada: a figure that is now 375,000, or one percent of the country’s population, he said. This makes Canada the country with the fastest pace in the G7 – tied with the United States at its peak in mid-April – and without “showing any sign of slowing down.”

People line up outside the Killarney Community Center in Vancouver, waiting to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Canada was lagging behind other countries in immunization rates until about April 1, when its vaccination rate accelerated significantly. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Bogoch attributed this in part to the federal government’s access to vaccines, saying that “luckily we really have millions and millions and millions of vaccines entering the country now.”

For example, Canada will receive at least 55 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, Public Services and Supply Minister Anita Anand announced earlier this week.

But just a few months ago, Canada’s inability to secure a large and consistent supply of vaccine at the start of the vaccination campaign had a significant impact on the country’s vaccination rates.

“The main factor is really that we are dependent on other people who have been providing us with vaccines for a long time,” said Jason Kindrachuk, assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Emerging Viruses at the University of Manitoba.

“We didn’t have the capacity to withdraw doses in Canada to start distributing drugs. “

Canada depends on other countries

Instead, Canada had to rely on countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, which were busy supplying their own populations with vaccines made in their own factories.

“Before, they took care of themselves while they increased their production capacity,” said Dr. Ross Upshur, of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Kindrachuk said it has always been known that based on purchase agreements provided by the federal government, there will be an increasing number of doses available in early spring and summer.

“I think for Canada the long game – we did really well, with all things considered,” he said. “Would it have been better for us to have it earlier?” Absolutely.

This graph from Our World in Data shows the share of a country’s total population that has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Canada now leads the standings, just ahead of Israel. (Our world in data)

Vaccination rates have also been boosted by provinces, Kindrachuk said, who have been able to adjust to some of the logistical hurdles of deployment, including distance between communities.

“We had to adapt to that in real time, for something that we didn’t necessarily like,” he said. “The provinces, I think, played a big role in being accommodating and somewhat flexible with the situation… presented to them. ”

Upshur believes the key to accelerating immunizations in Canada has been what he described as a “really impressive mass lift”.

“Everyone got together and said, ‘Let’s just get as many people vaccinated as possible as fast as possible,’” he said, noting that this included the rise of mass vaccination clinics and pop-up.

« [There was] better collaboration between all sectors – in health, public health, clinical care, pharmacies, primary care. Everybody. Everyone is doing their part. We have found a way to do it. “

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