GUEST COLUMN: Canada’s confused vaccine plan is giving me whiplash

Pam Woodhurst

What the heck is Canada doing with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout? It’s been a colossal mess.

At first we heard how Ottawa had purchased three to four times the vaccine needed for our population. We were even criticized on CNN for being a ‘greedy’ nation, given the worldwide disparity of vaccine distribution.

Pam Woodhurst

So why aren’t Canadians getting shots at record speed?

OK, we don’t manufacture it here, which makes us reliant on what is delivered. Fair enough. But when my mother in long-term care received her first dose, we were told they weren’t sure when the second would be given. What?

Slowly those age 80 and over started getting vaccinated. Weeks went by, and thankfully my mother got her second dose on time.

Next came staff at long-term care homes, of which I was included as mom’s essential caregiver. I got my first dose of Pfizer on March 10. That same day the Ontario government mandated a 16-week interval between first and second doses to extend the vaccine supply.

OK, Canadians are for the most part very grateful people and concerned for our fellow man. But now we learn that is not how these vaccines were trialled or meant to be used. There is a reason Pfizer and Moderna have 21-day and 28-day intervals between doses. The second solidifies the first.

These mRNA-type vaccines are new technology. There is no data to show the efficacy of postponing the second dose. Did I mention the staff at my mom’s long-term care home is waiting 16 weeks? These are essential workers. I hope this isn’t a disaster waiting to happen.

We are now in our third wave and third lockdown. Ontario’s Sesame Street colour guide, meant to help small businesses, has done nothing but torture and bankrupt them.

Doctors warn that the spreading COVID-19 variants are more deadly and seriously affecting younger people. And breakouts are occurring big time at manufacturing sites. These are also essential workers who provide our goods and food.

Most people who can work from home are already home. They can’t stay home any harder.

Right now health officials are prioritizing residents age 70+ and 60+ for vaccination. Really? Most are retired; they can stay home. Let’s prioritize the mother or father of three who has to go to work. We need to adapt and target the new vulnerable.

And, finally, the AstraZeneca vaccine. First, it was banned for persons 65-plus. A few weeks later it was not only allowed for people 60-plus, it became easier to get at local pharmacies. Now it’s banned it for those under 55. Does this make sense?

No wonder we all feel like we have whiplash.

Last year, we were rolling our eyes at the U.S. government’s handling of COVID-19. Do we still want to compare notes, now that our southern neighbour has doled out 165 million doses and half its population is at least partly inoculated?

Pam Woodhurst is a retired ESL teacher who worked in Portugal and Angola and has lived in Sarnia the past 12 years.