/The great race

The great race

By Chad Ingram

By now, many readers have likely received their first COVID-19 vaccination, and it seems likely that those of us who haven’t had our turn yet will at least be able to register for our first shot by the end of this month.

If 2020 was about waiting for a viable COVID-19 vaccine to be created, then 2021 has been about waiting for our individual time to get jabbed.

Of course by nature some of us are more patient than others, and of course for nearly every person there is a different opinion about just who should have been prioritized over whom in the queue. We understand that we’re essentially a giant team attempting to work together to pull ourselves out of the depths of a terrible pandemic we’ve been facing for nearly 14 months, but at the same time, it’s only logical that we might feel impatient from time to time. It’s only natural. It’s our most basic survival instincts yelling at us.

When is it my turn? When will this be over?

There is also a tendency to look at how Canada is faring against other countries in the great race for herd immunity. Certainly there have been some issues at both the federal and provincial levels in terms of vaccine supply and distribution. After new large shipments of vaccine arrive in the country, as they have this month, we feel things are moving along at a decent clip. When there are lulls in vaccine supply, we feel we’re falling behind.

As of Monday, in terms of how many vaccine doses have been delivered per capita around the world, Canada was sitting at about No. 21 on a real-time list kept by the New York Times, having administered some 13.8 million vaccines, and with 34 per cent of the population having received a first dose, and with three per cent of the total population fully vaccinated.
Some people may not consider this very good, and certainly there’s a tendency to compare ourselves to the U.K. and the U.S. since we share so much, culturally and historically. They ranked eighth and ninth on the list, respectively. However, Canada is not nearly the manufacturing powerhouse that the other two are. We don’t crank out vaccines the way they do. We wait for vaccines to be delivered. A key difference.

Also, while No. 21 may not seem fantastic, it’s important to remember there are nearly 200 countries in the world. Canada is one of the richest countries on the planet, part of an elite group that is seeing its population vaccinated at a much quicker pace than most of the rest of the world.
There are many, many countries where the percentage of the population that has received their first vaccination is still in the single digits. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and see that countries such as Papua New Guinea, Armenia, Syria, Libya, South Sudan, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon have vaccinated less than 0.1 per cent of their populations.

While Canada and the rest of the Western world is seemingly on pace to see a return to at least some kind of normalcy by the end of this year, it will be a much longer time in many other countries.

It’s easy to forget how much we have to be grateful for.