Canada and the Coronavirus

Americans have been able to return to the US. Canadians who are living in the US can come back to Canada anytime. In other words, the US is remaining closed to non-citizens travelling for non essential reasons.

By land. By air, in any practical sense that it matters, anyone can go. I’ve known people who went to Disney World or Vegas.

Yes, I keep forgetting to specify that.

The policy seems weird to me. I don’t understand why folks who travel by air are deemed an acceptable risk, while those who travel by car are not.

But It’s their policy and they are welcome to do what they like.

I am amused by the comments section in the National Post, where readers are all blaming Trudeau for the decisions of the United States.

It’s a better class of people that can afford to travel by air, none of those damn dirty hippies in their VW busses.

These are the same people that are still blaming Trudeau for our horrible showing in the vaccine rollout. If they could someone also blame his dad, they’d be even happier. At our current pace we will surpass Israel in 4 days and be in the vaccination lead among all countries larger than the small island nations.

The still have not pivoted from the main policy platform plank from the conservative party during the last election:

“We hate Trudeau and so should you”

That seemed to be their primary messaging.

Not quite. In addition to the smattering of small island nations ahead of Israel in doses/capita, there are also UAE, Bahrain, Uruguay, and Chile. Bahrain is pretty small, but UAE is 10 million people. Also, Qatar is currently ahead of us and behind Israel, but on current trends will pass Israel before we do. Chile and Uruguay may be using mostly Chinese vaccines, but deserve credit for securing and distributing vaccines at rates only matched by much wealthier nations.

Criticism of Canada’s vaccine program has always been stupid. We were very slightly behind most of continental Europe through February and March, and have otherwise outperformed all peer nations aside from the US and UK.

Yep. The only reason we ever had a problem at all was because every single supplier ended up shorting us early in the process. And there’s no way any government could have predicted that, or done anything about it, either. Given that we have no in-country facilities to produce these vaccines, no matter who was PM, we’d have been in the same boat, or even worse.

Agreed. Much of the critiques seemed to be along the lines of “Why didn’t Trudeau start a pharmaceutical and vaccine production company from scratch in 3 months and produce a magical vaccine that was better than all the others in the world? It’s his fault that we stopped working in this area decades ago!”

It wasn’t about the vaccines. It was about finding another stick to hit Trudeau with. Some folks simply hate him with an unreasoning passion.

I thought that having the federal government in charge of procurement and the provinces in charge of delivery was a good idea. I also liked the involvement of the military in distribution - they had the resources and manpower. Finally, I thought it was a good idea to order vaccines from many different companies, even before we knew what their efficacy or timeline for delivery would be like. Not putting all of our eggs in one basket was the right thing to do IMO.

You are correct on this. For some reason the daily feed I read does not have these listed.

I follow this stuff on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations - Statistics and Research - Our World in Data

We’re actually in 22nd place worldwide on their chart, though aside from the 5 I mentioned above plus Israel, the rest really are tiny islands (well, Gibraltar and San Marino aren’t islands except metaphorically, but they are tiny) and 7 aren’t even independent states. I guess you could argue that Malta and Iceland rate above tiny, but combined they’re about the population of Winnipeg, so…

That might be true in some other context, but medical supplies are a special case. There are lots of critical supplies: nearly everything is critical to one patient or another, and lots of medicines are limited to a small number of certified suppliers. At any time, there may be one or another medicine that is overpriced or in short supply because of supply chain or licencing problems.

So it’s an example where any government could have predicted there would be supply problems in a pandemic – a world-wide international epidemic. It’s not clear that the Canadian government could have done anything about it, other than good political messaging, even if they had predicted it.

I think the problem was the reverse. Governments predicted that there wouldn’t be vaccines available until about now, and that they would be in short supply, and that there wasn’t any point in trying to be the monster that grabbed all the available vaccine supplies. They didn’t predict that there would be a lot of vaccine available now, and a lot of vaccinated people, and that Canada would be compared to countries with more vaccination: they predicted that the situation would be much worse, and that Canada would be compared to countries in much worse shape.

Well, I suspect that the folks in Ottawa did predict this, and that’s why they ordered a lot of vaccines from many different suppliers, rather than relying on one single supplier.

We even had a partnership between the National Research Council of Canada and CanSino Biologics early last year. Good thing we did not count on this one, because the deal to do the first Canadian clinical trials with CanSino’s vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) was shelved because of China having a political hissy fit.

Yes, it was entirely predictable that one or more of the suppliers we contracted with would fail to deliver the vaccines on time. I mean, to begin with, we started ordering them before we even knew if they’d be safe and effective. And sure, you might expect some to have supply problems, slowing down their production. And some might decide to prioritize other customers over Canada.

What came as a surprise was that every single supplier ended up doing that. The whole point of buying from everyone who was even looking at vaccines in a funny way was to avoid just this sort of shortfall, which was incredibly likely with any one supplier, but should have been far less likely with all of them.