If you’re impatient with the pace of the Covid-19 vaccine spread in the US, count your blessings. At least you don’t live in Canada. As of Wednesday, according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data, my country had only given 3.52 doses of vaccine per 100 people website. The US also did it nearly five times at 5 p.m. In Israel it was 80.07, in Great Britain 25.04 and in the European Union 5.40.
Why is Canada such a straggler among the developed world? The government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not negotiated any contracts with established pharmaceutical companies. Rather, it tacitly approved a working relationship between Canadian researchers and a Chinese vaccine maker, CanSino Biologics Inc. CanSino abandoned its project in August after several failures. Ottawa then had to make agreements with Pfizer, Moderna, and other companies. “I wouldn’t have put all our eggs in China’s basket,” Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole told reporters.
When Canada and other countries saw a significant increase in Covid-19 cases last month (which has since subsided), Pfizer cut its shipments to my country by more than two-thirds for several weeks. Moderna announced that only three-quarters of its vaccines would arrive in Canada in early February.
Other options are off the table for now. Although Canada bought a total of 398 million cans, more than 70% are vaccines that have not been approved by health authorities. Liberals have pointed fingers at pharmaceutical companies and provincial governments.