The US economy is opening up and Covid-19 vaccines are increasingly available. But its northern neighbor had one of the slowest vaccine launches among developed economies and is now imposing new blocks to stem the rise in infections.
Canadian blockages occur at a time when new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus are installed in the country. The rapid spread of variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom, and variant P.1, which originated in Brazil, forced authorities in Canada’s largest provinces to impose new residence orders and, in some cases, closing schools.
The launch of the vaccine in the country, blocked by problems in the supply chain and lack of coordination at the federal and provincial levels, contrasts with its initial and aggressive response to guarantee doses at the beginning of the pandemic. Canada struck deals with eight vaccine manufacturers, most of which were completed before the end of last year, for access to up to 404 million doses – the maximum dose per capita of any advanced economy.
But Canada has been slow to put these shots in people’s arms, and Canadians have been jealous of progress in the United States.
Data collected by Our World in Data from the University of Oxford shows that Canada provided one or more doses to about 16% of its population on Tuesday, while the USA covered 32% of its population, the United Kingdom had 47% and Israel had reached 61%.