According to Health Canada, nearly 70% of Canadians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, bringing the country very close to the 75% threshold required by public health authorities to approach herd immunity.
“We’ve seen record levels of vaccination, Canada is leading the world in first doses and we’ve got just passed the Americans in terms of fully vaccinated Canadians,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during an infrastructure announcement outside Toronto on Monday.
“We are proceeding in a thoughtful and responsible manner, but the fact is that people should continue to get vaccinated on their second doses and those who hesitated should get their first doses.”
But the milestone was not celebrated with a national celebration as public health officials and politicians continue to urge people to remain cautious.
Canada’s punishing third wave of Covid-19 this spring has burdened hospitals and exhausted frontline health workers. It is still a vivid memory for many, even though the country has had an average of about 400 cases per day in the past week, according to Public Health Agency Canada.
And until recently, the scarcity of vaccines left millions of Canadians feeling anxious and exposed.
“As people said in March, it was like the ‘Hunger Games’ (for vaccines), hospital systems crashed and the stock wasn’t there,” Andrew Young, founder from grassroots organization Vaccine Hunters Canada, told CNN. “Right now I can tell you that I am much more relaxed.”
Young founded the organization in March to help find vaccines for Canadians as the battle to get vaccinated was in full swing.
Vaccine Hunters Canada said it is using the IT and social media skills of about 100 volunteers to connect Canadians with vaccines.
“I think our real niche was hope, if I could put it that way,” Young said. “There wasn’t much hope in terms of the constant lockdowns, increase in cases, closed schools. So to me, vaccine hunters represented hope and the niche it filled is that it connected all provinces with its rollout strategies, so we had a consolidated platform for Canadians.” in the entire country.”
While the federal government procured and paid for vaccine doses, the administration of the vaccines was done by individual provinces and territories.
One night a few weeks ago, Young recalled, a vaccine clinic in suburban Toronto contacted the organization at 1 a.m. to tell them there were several dozen doses of vaccine left.
Vaccine Hunters Canada made it known on social media and each dose was delivered late into the night.
“I still see us as pretty important in terms of helping get the message out, helping amplify the voices of certain groups that need a little boost,” Young said, adding that the “last percent” needs more creative strategies. will have as Canada faces its own vaccine hesitancy.
While Canada says it has obtained more doses per capita than most countries around the world, most of the doses were not delivered until later in the spring.
Canada still lacks significant vaccine production capacity, although the Trudeau government has pledged to fund more domestic vaccine production by 2022.
Canada Prepares to Re-Open Its Borders to Vaccinated Americans
The use of vaccines was not politicized in Canada.
Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Dr. However, Theresa Tam has been warning for weeks that vaccine restraint could keep Canada from achieving the herd immunity it needs to fight the virus.
In a recent statement, she encouraged Canadians to share “credible” Covid-19 information. She warned earlier this month that not enough younger Canadians are “offering their guns” for vaccinations.
Still, Canada is now confident enough to open its borders to visitors for the first time in 16 months.
Beginning August 9, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States and only those currently residing in the US will be allowed to enter Canada. Non-essential travel to Canada has been banned since March 2020, something the Canadian government said was necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19.
International travelers will also be able to enter Canada from Sept. 7, provided the “Covid-19 epidemiology remains favorable,” the Canadian government said in a statement released Monday.
Entry to Canada remains prohibited for all foreign travelers who are not fully vaccinated.