File photo

More transparency, more information needed

Yet another day, yet another vaccine approved in Canada.

Yes, Health Canada approved the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, bringing more options, faster service and a hope for going back to normal sooner, to millions of Canadians and yet, officials have been strangely mum over the vaccine roll-outs in the smaller communities.

Every day there is news about Canadians getting vaccinated and yet when I look at our small communities out here, after that first round of vaccines, things have been fairly quiet. People are getting anxious, worried and many are even wondering when the vaccine roll-out will resume in the region but their questions are being met with either silence or with manufactured responses that gives no information whatsoever.

Responses like we have nothing new to inform or we will let you know based on the PHO orders can prove to be infuriating for the public who have been locked up in their homes, have been away from their families and just waiting for some clarity.

My problem isn’t with those in authority without answers because I understand, sometimes, there really are no answers, but my issue is with the complete lack of transparency when it comes to simple answers.

Why is it so difficult for authorities to answer what the estimates for vaccine availability for 80 plus population or what the estimated timeline for the vaccine roll-out in general looks like.

My former professor is now working in Tel Aviv, Israel and she shared a story of how there is a mobile clinic outside of a bar where over 100 young people got their shots last week without any appointment. As a bonus, they were given a free drink. This was part of a campaign to get younger people vaccinated and yet here in rural Canada, we are still looking for answers on when those in the 80 plus age group would receive their immunization.

Israel’s COVID-19 roll-out has been one to watch. The vaccination campaign that began in December last year, has already managed to vaccinate 37 per cent of Israel’s population.

Despite U.S.A.’s horrible response to the pandemic, 6.59 per cent population has been fully vaccinated and despite the variants, 1.05 per cent population in U.K. and 0.9 per cent population in South Africa have been fully vaccinated. By comparison, Canada vaccinated only 0.83 per cent of its population by Friday last week, according to the John Hopkins University’s vaccine tracker.

Canada’s response to the pandemic is a much larger topic to explore and for most part it has been great. After all, there is no template or a blueprint on how to deal with this pandemic and everything that the healthcare workers have been doing since the start of the pandemic has been extremely commendable.

But more needs to be done with Canada’s immunization plans for the safety of the healthcare workers to begin with, and also for the rest of the population. More vaccines need to be given out, more people need to be reached and more information needs to be distributed, especially for the remote rural communities.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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