Smithers Interior News Editorial

Smithers Interior News Editorial

Be prepared

There is light at the end of the COVID tunnel, but what can we do better next time?

Finally, we are perhaps starting to see a little bit of urgency on the part of B.C. officials to get people vaccinated.

Perhaps understandably, while the supply of doses was limited politicians in particular would not have wanted to over-promise.

In the last two weeks, that changed dramatically with the approval by Health Canada of the Astrazeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines and a promise by Pfizer to accelerate deliveries. In short, even without the J and J vaccine, Canada is now scheduled to receive 30.5 million doses by the end of June.

By Friday, Premier John Horgan was saying he was “very hopeful that come summer we will have met our objectives.”

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Those objectives are presumedly to get shots into the arms of the 3.8 million eligible British Columbians — or at lease those who want it —who have not yet received even their first dose.

On Sunday, the health authorities rolled out their plans for phase 2, announcing eligibility and clinic locations for seniors 90 years and above and Indigenous people 65 and above. They also announced more clinics will be announced as they ramp up for mass immunization.

This week, as we mark one year since the WHO officially declared the pandemic and with COVID-fatigue reaching dangerous levels, this should come as some kind of relief that at least there is a chance for a return to some kind of normalcy by the summer.

It also raises some serious questions though.

While we did experience some supply problems early on, we knew the floodgates would eventually open. Why is this new plan to accelerate the program so last minute?

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Why, in the first place, does a country like Canada, one of the most medically advanced in the world, not have the capacity to produce our own vaccine supply?

It has been a year, why are logistics and places and timelines and contingencies still so uncertain?

We recognize this is a massive undertaking and a fluid situation, but this is not the first pandemic and it won’t be the last.

These are questions that should be addressed so we can be more prepared for the next one.

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