Our lives have been disrupted for 15 months now by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. That is 15 months of sickness and death. Fifteen months of job losses and business closures. Fifteen months of stay-at-home orders, public health restrictions, and remote learning. It is 15 months of loss.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canadians should be prepared for a one dose summer. That means less activities, smaller activities, and continued public health restrictions. Trudeau is trying to manage expectations.
At the time this editorial was written, 44 per cent of Canadians have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 3.7 per cent have received two doses. The pace at which vaccinations are occurring has increased in recent weeks but still are no where what they should be to vaccinate all Canadians at the same rate as other countries. Supply continues to be a big issue.
According to Our World In Data, which tracks global vaccinations and other pandemic statistics, 17.9 per cent of people in high income countries (G20), are fully vaccinated (two dose). Israel is at 59 per cent, the United States 36.4 per cent, and United Kingdom 29 per cent.
Supply, not distribution, has been the big issue for Canada; it has not been for some countries. The US, UK, and Israel have been able to get around supply issues. Why hasn’t Canada?
Canada has a health care system that is envied by many in the world. It is a rich country, and has the means to procure vaccine doses. Yet this country still lags behind and the citizens of the country are the ones to deal with the ramifications. The small business owners are the ones who still deal with the crippling public health restrictions that have shuttered them for months at a time. Students are the ones who are suffering, and will continue to suffer long-term, from remote and distanced learning schemes.
Prime Minister Trudeau stating that we should lower our expectations for the summer is politics pure and simple. It says to Canadians that he does not have confidence in his government’s ability to fully vaccinate Canadians in a timely manner. That is unacceptable.
It is unacceptable for Trudeau to ask us to lower our expectations after 15 months of dealing with the pandemic and all it has wrought. It is unacceptable for Trudeau to continue to issue announcement upon announcement of new projects and initiatives when the very basic needs of Canadians have not been met. Procure more vaccine and get doses into every resident of this country who wants a vaccine. There is no real recovery until this task is complete.
A two dose summer is what Canada needs, one that means broad distribution of COVID-19 vaccines so that recovery can truly begin. Anything less is a failure of Trudeau and his government.