Waiting for a shot: how long is too long?

di Priscilla Pajdo del January 12, 2021

TORONTO - Covid-19 is likely to remain a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Instead of the situation improving, the number of cases continue to head in the wrong direction.

Thankfully, there is some hope that the Covid-19 vaccine will soon bring an end to this merciless and indiscriminate virus.

Now that the country is administering vaccines to priority groups across the nation, how long will it be before the majority of Canadians who want a shot be able to get one?

The answer – September 2021 – according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And that timeline is contingent upon Health Canada approving more vaccines than the two currently available.

According to the Canada Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker, Canada has administered just over 25,000 vaccinations in the last 24 hours.

Since both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two shots at least 21-28 days apart for full immunization, there is no question that the pace of inoculations and distribution of the vaccines need to scale up.

As of January 11, less than one percent of Canadians (0.89%), have received at least one dose.

For Covid-19, it is still unknown what percentage of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. But, to vaccinate approximately 80% of Canada’s population, the current rate of vaccination (25,000/day) would need to speed up by about six and a half times (163,000 daily doses) if there is any hope of coming close to that goal by the end of 2021.

The last eleven months of Covid-19 induced restrictions and lockdowns have many Canadians eager to see an end to this at times lethal virus. One that has infected over 660,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 17,000 citizens.

The hope is that the vaccine will put an end to all the social separation and economic uncertainty. With that glimmer of hope, Canadians appear to be more willing to get a shot.

In fact, according to the latest Angus Reid Institute survey to measure Canadian’s willingness to take a Covid-19 vaccine, 60% of those polled said they would get one as soon as possible. That reflects a twelve percent increase from just one month ago.

The vaccine rollout has drawn criticism over the slow pace of inoculations and supply shortage issues.

More than half of those polled (52%) say the amount of time they will have to wait to get their shot is “too long”.

Some reports suggest that despite travel advisories, some Canadian snowbirds are booking flights down south to places like Florida where anyone aged 65+ is able to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

There are major risks when travelling abroad during a global pandemic; however, the sunshine boost of vitamin D combined with an added shot of Covid-19 vaccine may be that added incentive for people willing to take the risk.

As the one-year anniversary approaches when Covid-19 crossed our border and took hold of our nation, mass vaccinations may be cause for celebration and an opportunity for a chance at life to return to some sort of normal.

For now, as tighter restrictions clamp down on communities to mitigate the viral spread, Canadians will have to pack some patience and wait their turn in line, whenever that may be.

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