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This story is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents on US politics and developments affecting Canadians.
The news that Canada has overtaken the United States in COVID-19 vaccination has made headlines in the United States and internationally, given how distant this scenario seemed months ago.It also prompted a finger-pointing in the United States
Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is one person showing his growing frustration with developments in the United States.
He was asked in an interview with CNN what happened and why Canada had overtaken the US in first and second dose rate despite the US months ahead.
Fauci blamed US politics
“Canada is doing better, not because we try less than they do. It’s because in Canada you don’t have that division of people who don’t want to get vaccinated, in many ways, based on ideology and political persuasion, ”he replied.
“I mean, the political differences are totally understandable and are a natural part of the process in any country. But when it comes to a public health issue, where you are in the middle of a deadly pandemic and the common enemy is the virus, it just doesn’t make sense….
“It’s a public health problem. It is not political. It is not ideological. It is a public health problem. “
What is the context
Canada has about 70 percent of its total population with at least one dose and over 50 percent fully vaccinated, with a slight difference between provinces. The US rate is extremely uneven between states, with some having high vaccination rates and others very low.
As a result, the ratio of Americans who received at least one dose is 15 percentage points lower than that of Canada, and the ratio of fully vaccinated people is now about two percentage points lower in the United States, according to the United States. Our World In Data website. from the University of Oxford.
Americans are increasingly concerned that resistance to vaccination is leading to an increase in cases in some parts of the country.
In particular, counties and states that vote Republican have the lowest vaccination rates and suffer the hardest from the delta variant.
Fauci said 99.5% of all deaths from COVID-19 in the United States are now unvaccinated people, with fully vaccinated people accounting for just 0.5%.
But for over a year now, the conversation about COVID has been drowned in partisan politics, something Fauci has had personal experience with.
In Florida, the Republican state governor, billed as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, sold a “Don’t Fauci My Florida” t-shirt as he resists calls for vaccine passports and demands vaccination. His condition is now a COVID hotspot again.
Watch: Woman whose husband died of COVID-19 urges hesitant to get vaccinated:
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