Canada's percentage of people with 1 COVID-19 vaccine dose now higher than U.S.

·2 min read
Dr. Barry Lavallee, CEO of Keewatinowi Inniniw Minoayawin, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Alexander Herrera, 14, at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre in Winnipeg on Monday (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Dr. Barry Lavallee, CEO of Keewatinowi Inniniw Minoayawin, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Alexander Herrera, 14, at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre in Winnipeg on Monday (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Canada has given a higher percentage of its population at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine than the United States.

Nearly 49 per cent of Canadians have received their first dose as of Friday, according to the CBC News Coronavirus Tracker. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 48.2 per cent have had their first shot.

Canada now ranks fifth in the world for share of the population with at least one dose, according to a tracker from Our World in Data, an online publication based at the University of Oxford. That's up from 26th place two months ago.

"It's nice to have friendly competition, right?" said Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious diseases specialist and scientist with Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, in an interview Friday on CBC News Network.

"I think that it's a tribute to the thousands of people who are working on our vaccine rollout, and to all of us as Canadians who are keen to get vaccinated and lining up to get our shots."

Canada's vaccination campaign got off to a slow start, compared to countries like Israel and the United Kingdom which started mass vaccination efforts early in the year. Now, eligibility is opening up rapidly across the country. Ontario announced Friday that youths as young as 12 will be eligible for vaccination this weekend.

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When it comes to second doses, however, Canada lags far behind its southern neighbour. About four per cent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, compared to 38 per cent of Americans. McGeer said Canada will hopefully catch up quickly starting in June.

In Canada, uptake has been relatively even across the country. All 10 provinces have given one dose to at least 41 per cent of residents, with Quebec leading at 51 per cent. Nunavut is in the same range, at 43 per cent, while the Northwest Territories and Yukon are outliers, both having partially vaccinated more than 60 per cent of their populations.

The U.S. is a different story. Some states, like Mississippi and Louisiana, have only given first shots to about 33 or 34 per cent of their populations, according to the CDC. Other states have given both shots to much larger portions. In Maine, for example, more than 50 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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