Is Ottawa doing enough to get vaccines? Or is Ontario too slow using them?

ANALYSIS: Ottawa and Queen’s Park are sniping over the pace of vaccination. But data shows that unless Ontario dramatically picks up the pace, the current schedule of vaccine deliveries is enough. And that's a big problem.

CNC Analysis

Unfortunately, Canada is no leader in getting people vaccinated. Now a new topic of political sniping has broken out between the Ford Conservatives and the Trudeau Liberals -- this time over whether the delay is because the federal government can’t obtain the vaccine fast enough or because the province isn’t administering vaccines fast enough.

We have the data. A least some of it.

As of Monday morning, Ontario had administered 113,000 vaccine doses, just 58 per cent of the supply it has received. So at that time, just under 100,000 doses sat in fridges.

Last week, vaccinations ramped up from 7,600 on Monday to 15,700 on Friday before falling back to about 9,000 on each weekend day, for a seven day total of just under 80,000 doses. On Monday, only a few more than 11,000 people were vaccinated. So right now, the 100,000 doses in the fridge will last the week.

But new supplies are coming. On Monday, the federal government released a schedule of delivery. This week Ontario will receive about 138,000 more doses. Another 81,000 doses will be received both next week and the week after. In the week of February 1, 225,000 doses will be received. Another 143,000 doses will be delivered during the week of February 8.

What’s less clear is if that's enough vaccine to keep ahead of Ontario’s vaccine use. Ontario hasn’t published any daily or weekly vaccination targets, but based on the roll-out we’ve seen so far, federal deliveries will outpace Ontario’s injections.

If Ontario continues to administer 80,000 a week, there will be over 350,000 doses still chilling on Feb. 14. If they can ramp up to an average of 16,000 doses a day – which is a bit more than the best Ontario has done on its best day so far – the number in fridges drops to 240,000 by Feb. 14.

Even if Ontario can get to an average 22,000 doses injected a day, starting right now, there will still be almost 50,000 doses in the freezer on Feb 14.

So certainly, at this point, the pace of obtaining vaccines appears to be comfortably in excess of the ability to administer them. Anything faster would just increase the number of doses sitting in refrigerators. The caveat is, of course, that Ontario is not being transparent with its targets, if it has them.

But there’s a more profound problem. Even if Ontario can get to an average 22,000 vaccinations a day, it's nowhere near fast enough.

Ontario has 14 million people. People need two vaccinations. To protect 85 per cent of the about 80 per cent of Ontarians who are over 18 years of age requires about 20 million vaccinations. At 22,000 vaccinations a day it will take about 140 weeks to fully vaccinate 10 million people with two shots. Ontario needs to get to to an average to 74,000 vaccinations a day, every day, starting now, to vaccinate our population by the end of September, 39 weeks from now.


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