Canada has announced it will reopen its international borders in September, while 14 million Australians are in Covid lockdown with no prospect of an overseas holiday this year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that fully vaccinated Americans, who have been banned since March 2020, will be admitted from August 9 and fully vaccinated citizens of all other countries from September 7.
The country of 38 million people opens up after 60 percent of over-12s are fully vaccinated following a massive surge in the initially slow vaccine rollout.
Canada has announced that it will reopen its international borders in September. Pictured: Montreal residents
Meanwhile, Australia – which has banned tourists and even rations tickets for citizens to return home – is not expected to open its international borders until July 2022, according to the May budget.
This is because only 14.98 percent of people over 16 have been fully vaccinated and only at the end of the year will everyone be offered a vaccine.
Such a contrast would be hard to imagine in February, when Canada had only given a single dose to 2.34 percent of the population due to a lack of supplies of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the same problem Australia is now facing.
Mr Trudeau was under extraordinary pressure to increase the pace of the rollout as the US and UK moved ahead with rapid vaccination programs.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that fully vaccinated Americans, who have been banned since March 2020, will be allowed to enter from August 9. Pictured: Ice hockey fans in Montreal
In February, Canada was criticized for taking 1,903,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Covax, the World Health Organization’s pool designed to help poor countries.
But then the supply of Moderna and Pfizer coming from Europe started to increase rapidly, with 8 million jabs arriving at the end of March and 36.5 million by the end of June.
Massive vaccine hubs were set up across the country to deliver the shots quickly, including Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
The central province of Manitoba even allowed physiotherapists, veterinarians, medical assistants and retired doctors to administer the vaccine.
The nation’s largest city, Toronto (population 3 million) opened nine vaccination centers to vaccinate more than 120,000 people a week.
As of July 19, Canada had administered approximately 25.4 million doses of Pfizer, 7.6 million doses of Moderna and 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca.
Cleaners at work at Melbourne’s Prahran Market on Thursday after a customer tested positive for Covid-19
As of May 30, only 9.94 percent of Canadians in their 70s had been fully vaccinated, but that percentage rose to 82.1 percent by July 11.
The rollout was aided by Canada having signed massive vaccine deals with three suppliers as of mid-2020.
In total, Canada ordered some 400 million doses of vaccine – the highest per capita rate in the world – including 44 million Moderna, 76 million Pfizer, 20 million AstraZeneca and 38 million Johnson and Johnson, which are pending approval.
About 20 million doses from Pfizer were ordered in July 2020, four months before Australia ordered 10 million doses in November.
Canadians also showed a willingness to get the shot to protect themselves from Covid-19. The country has suffered 1.42 million cases and 26,512 deaths.
Last September, only 39 percent of Canadians said they had a… vaccine but that number was 82 percent in May.
The result of an abundant supply, a willing population and an efficient system, 80 percent of people over the age of 12 have had at least one dose, and the country is easing Covid restrictions.
Scott Morrison has apologized for slow pace of Covid-19 vaccine rollout
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologizes to the Australians for not getting more shots in the guns sooner.
“I’m sorry we weren’t able to get the points we hoped for at the beginning of this year. Of course I am,” he said as 14 million people were locked out in three states.
“But what’s more important is that we’re fully focused on making sure we turn this around,” he said.
The apology came after Mr Morrison refused to apologize three times during a KIISFM radio interview on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference in Canberra on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the rollout will accelerate in the coming months as 1 million doses of Pfizer arrive weekly.
Sydney residents will be locked up until at least July 30. Pictured: Bronte Beach residents
Some 184,000 vaccines were administered across the country on Wednesday, a record number per day.
“I take responsibility for the things that didn’t go as well as we would have liked and I take responsibility for the things that have worked,” he said.
“No country gets everything right, no prime minister gets everything right. So it’s my job to carry on with the work.’
Mr Morrison said 470 pharmacies will be offering the AstraZeneca shot by the end of July, up from 118 currently.
Occupational health spokesman Mark Butler said more pharmacies should have started rolling out jabs months ago.
Morrison has come under constant criticism from the Labor opposition, who accused him of not signing enough vaccine deals last year.
NSW registered 124 new cases on Wednesday, leading the Sydney outbreak – which started with a pilot who tested positive on June 16 – to 1,648 infections.
Victoria registered 26 new cases, bringing the outbreak to 46 and the cluster in South Australia climbed to 15 infections.
Both states are in lockdown until at least Wednesday, while Sydney’s lockdown is set to end on July 30, but is likely to be extended.
Melbourne will be closed until at least July 27. Pictured: Residents at Yarra River on Thursday
According to government data released on June 28, about two in 100,000 people will develop a blood clot from the AstraZeneca shot and only three percent of those affected will die, a death rate of 0.6 in a million. Meanwhile, Australia’s Covid-19 death rate is 3.9 percent, or 39,000 in a million
The Australian vaccine rollout was thrown into chaos in April when the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (Atagi) said the AstraZeneca shot was only recommended for people over 50 due to a low risk of blood clots in younger people.
The move prompted the government — which planned to use AstraZeneca to vaccinate most people — backing its goal of offering everyone a shot from October to December.
In June, Atagi raised the recommended minimum age to 60, eroding confidence and delaying the rollout of the jab by two months as the government pushed to get more Pfizer into the country.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young even stoked anti-vaxxers when she begged young people not to take the vaccine, saying: ‘I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland to die of a clotting disease which, if they get Covid, would probably Do not die.’
Several doctors have reported that some people over 60 – who are recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine – are choosing to delay their vaccinations so they can get Pfizer instead.
Mr Morrison said he chose to prioritize securing AstraZeneca last year because Australia can make it ashore and it is easier to store than Pfizer.
All of Victoria will be in lockdown until next Wednesday. Pictured: Melbourne residents on Wednesday