Canada leads world in administering first-dose COVID-19 vaccines

Jun 15 2021, 7:58 pm

Canada has pushed past the UK and Israel to have the world’s highest proportion of the population partly vaccinated against COVID-19.

So far, 74% of eligible Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, federal health officials said at an update Tuesday. Canada’s population is about 38 million people, and more than 29 million doses have been administered, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said.

Our World in Data, a site that tracks COVID-19 indicators, pegs Canada as first in the world when it comes to the percentage of a country’s population that’s received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Canada took that title only recently, passing Israel in early June.

But other countries have Canada beat when looking at how many people are fully immunized against COVID-19. Our World in Data suggests only 13% of Canadians are fully vaccinated — which pales in comparison to Israel, the UK, and Chile.

Canada extended the dose interval between vaccine shots to get first doses to more people more quickly, after modelling suggested that giving partial protection to more people would reduce COVID-19 caseloads overall.

Recently, the country has seen a significant decrease in new COVID-19 infections. This week, there were less than 1,500 new infections reported daily across the country, Tam said.

“These positive trends give us great optimism,” she said during her Tuesday news conference. “We have a narrow window of opportunity to get ahead of this virus.”

Many provinces are now starting to administer second doses as vaccine supply increases. Officials have said everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine should have the opportunity to be fully immunized by the end of September.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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