Life seems to appear a little more normal. Declining daily new infections and increasing vaccinations rates mean easing of more restrictions. A light at the end of a dark tunnel. At the current rate, Canada is on track to exceed its target of having all eligible Canadians fully vaccinated by the end of the summer.
According to Canada’s Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker, more than 25.7 million people have received at least one dose. That represents over 77.4% of the population aged 12 and up. Over 35.1% are considered fully vaccinated, having received two required doses.
At this level of protection, various jurisdictions around the nation have permitted the loosening of restrictions on outdoor dining, larger gatherings and permitting more businesses to reopen to serve their customers. For example, in Ontario, after being closed for more than 200 days, personal care services are permitted once again to serve clients, albeit under certain restrictions.
One could ask the question, why has it taken this long to get to this point? Canada has committed more than $9 billion in the fight against the virus by way of vaccine procurement, therapeutics and to provide international support.
Sounds like a mighty sum to combat a global health crisis. Unfortunately, Canada does not reveal specific costs per vaccine dose, “agreements remain confidential”, according to a statement from Public Services and Procurement Canada. However, they did indicate that the majority of that fund was allocated for up to 409 million doses of vaccines and vaccine candidates for Canadians. What is the big secret?
As of June 30, Canada has received about 50 million doses. Another 18 million doses are set to arrive by the end of July. With a total of 68 million doses accessible to Canadians by the end of this month, the nation could potentially have fully vaccinated nearly 90% of Canada’s 38 million citizens. Medical experts suggest roughly 80% of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.
So, what does Canada plan do with the other 340 million vaccine doses it has secured? And for what cost, we still do not know. There is the concern over the highly transmissible Delta variant and the possibility of a third Covid-19 booster shot required to provide added protection for certain vulnerable populations.
Canada has pledged to donate up to 100 million doses to developing countries; however, details of those deliveries remain unclear. At last month’s G7 summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to 13 million surplus doses to help hard hit countries in their immunization efforts saying some of those vaccines were already on their way.
On Wednesday, the heads of the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization gathered at the first meeting of the Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries. The group discussed the urgency of increasing supplies of vaccines, therapeutics and Covid-19 health tool deliveries to low-income countries to improve equitable access to vaccines.
The Task Force also emphasized the need for transparency to the effect that they will make data available on dose requests, contracts, deliveries and deployments of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.