After lagging behind other developed countries in the early months of the COVID pandemic, Canada has officially surpassed the United States of America in terms of percentage of fully vaccinated residents. According to a report from CTV News’ Vaccine Tracker, 48.8% of Canadian residents are fully vaccinated compared to the 48.1% of US residents. Despite this milestone, vaccination rates do appear to be slowing down, which has led to the launch of vaccine lotteries in several provinces.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that if the country’s vaccine progress continues, his government might consider reopening the border to fully vaccinated U.S. travellers. In the U.S., where lawmakers have routinely lobbied for relaxed border measures, vaccination rates have slowed and infections among the unvaccinated are rising.
U.S. President Joe Biden previously set a target to fully vaccinate 160 million Americans and to ensure that 70 per cent of adults received at least one shot by the fourth of July. It’s been 15 days since that target date and as it stands, only 55.5 per cent of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, CTV News data shows.
With infection rates rising, driven by a surge in COVID-19 variants, the push to get everyone vaccinated is taking on new urgency. “You see cases rise actually kind of quickly when many restrictions are lifted,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch told CTV News Channel on Sunday. “That shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise.”
“It’s a very transmissible virus and it preys on the unvaccinated. Even though we have a significant proportion of our population with a first dose and a rapidly rising proportion with a second dose, there’s still millions of people including children who are unvaccinated,” he added.