Canada Behind Other Countries On Vaccination Efforts

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BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – While New York residents of all ages have been receiving COVID-19 vaccinations for several weeks now, the progress of vaccination has been much slower in Canada.

People lined up outside a COVID-19 vaccination center at the sports complex in Hawkesbury, ON on Friday. JAMES MORGAN

Due to difficulties in procuring vaccine doses because of a lack of formal ordering agreements between manufacturers and the federal government, and a lack of vaccine manufacturing facilities in the country, Canada was 19th in the world in terms of the number of people vaccinated as of March 13.

The United States was first. As of March 13, approximately 2,138,164 people, or 1.6% of the population of 37.6 million, had been vaccinated.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Quebec and British Columbia were nearly tied for the percentage of their populations who had been vaccinated as of March 13. Among British Columbians, 6.47% had been vaccinated, and 6.39% of Quebec residents had received at least one dose. The population of Quebec is 8.5 million. Ontario, the most populous province with 14.5 million, was 7th in the country for the number of people who had received at least one dose as of Saturday.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the least-vaccinated province as of Saturday, with 3.96% of the population having received at least one dose. Vaccination rates are much higher in Canada’s three northern territories due to their small population, and because the federal government has prioritized vaccination for indigenous people who make up the majority of the population in Canada’s north.

However, officials from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the highest level to local public health management have been assuring Canadians that vaccine deliveries will significantly decrease during the next month.

In eastern Ontario, 14,409 people had been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of March 12 in the communities under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which is the public health department for the counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, the City of Cornwall and the counties of Prescott and Russell.

Currently, COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Ontario are only available, by invitation only, to people aged 80 or greater who receive home care, health care workers, or authorized caregivers and visitors to residents of long-term care and retirement residences. Eligible residents are being notified by phone with instructions on how to make an appointment online or by phone.  People who show up at a vaccination center without an appointment will not be vaccinated.

All other individuals aged 80 or greater will be able to begin making vaccination appointments beginning on Monday, March 15.

“The clinics are going well,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis on Thursday.

Phase two of Ontario’s vaccination project is to begin in April which will include people age 60 or greater, people with chronic health conditions, and people who have jobs they cannot do from home. Roumeliotis was optimistic that many individuals will be able to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination before the end of May.

Currently, the only pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccinations are a select number in the Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor areas.

Across Quebec, 648,663 people had been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday. In Quebec, residents aged 75 or greater have been able to make a vaccination appointment since last week.