Some people in Canada wonder if they’d be better off in the U.S. because of the COVID vaccine

Blue-gloved hands holding COVID vaccine in front of Canada's flag
Photo via Marco Verch Professional Photographer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the U.S. is handling things well enough to prompt jealousy in other countries. Citizens in Canada have begun to eye the U.S. COVID vaccine efforts with envy, as inoculations in the states ramp up drastically.

The Canadian government is lagging well behind the U.S., where more than 101.8 million people have received their first dose of the vaccine. 

Approximately 31% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose, according to the Toronto Star. In Canada, only around 5 million doses—to approximately 14% of the population—have been administered. Past the country’s southern border, in the U.S., entire states have begun opening eligibility for anyone over 16 years of age. 

One of the primary reasons for Canada’s slower COVID vaccine rollout has to do with its reliance on other nations to import vaccines. Without any domestically-produced vaccines of its own, Canada is forced to wait for European nations, India, or the U.S. to send or donate shipments. 

The slowly building jealousy among Canadian citizens is being voiced through the “Meanwhile in Canada” trend, which cropped up on social media as Canucks began lamenting their country’s tenuous vaccination rollout. 

“I have been really struggling with the idea of, ‘Should I go down to Florida to get the vaccine’ because it’s just not happening here,” Montreal resident Caitlyn Burns told the Toronto Star. “I also just miss my family. That’s what I’m grappling with.”

Several roadblocks have impeded Canada’s route to broad vaccinations. Early in the pandemic, the country bought up plenty of doses but didn’t have the capacity to produce any vaccines domestically. As hurdles block other countries from rolling out vaccines as smoothly as initially planned, Canada is pushed further down the list of COVID vaccine recipients. 

The emergence of several variants, as well as the wavering PR battle surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine, have further complicated Canada’s COVID vaccine woes.

But the country may be headed for a turnaround. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on March 30 that the country should be receiving approximately 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week between March and June. 

Canada has also seen a lesson in the struggles the nation has experienced over the last year. In hopes of avoiding similar roadblocks in the future, Canada is expected to invest a huge chunk of money into a vaccine production and distribution facility. It is expected to be completed by 2027, according to the BBC

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Sources: The Star, BBC, USA Today

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