Researcher commends P.E.I.'s 'novel' approach to vaccine rollout

·2 min read
P.E.I.'s Emily Cameron-Blake is researching how countries and regions have responded to the global pandemic. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
P.E.I.'s Emily Cameron-Blake is researching how countries and regions have responded to the global pandemic. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

A P.E.I. woman who is part of a global team of researchers studying pandemic policy measures says the provincial government's decision to prioritize young front-line workers in its vaccine rollout was "quite a smart move."

Emily Cameron-Blake, a research assistant at Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government in England, described the province's decision to provide vaccines to people age 18 to 29 who work in the food and beverage service industry as unique.

"As far as I can tell, it hasn't been a decision that any other province or territory has made," Cameron-Blake told CBC's Island Morning on Friday.

"It's quite novel, actually, and quite a smart one, especially for a province that relies heavily on its tourism and its restaurant economy."

Cameron-Blake, who grew up in Summerside, P.E.I., is part of the university's COVID-19 government response tracker, looking at how countries and regions have responded to the global pandemic.

Cameron-Blake said there are 23 indicators they are looking at across 187 countries, including who governments have prioritized for vaccines, who is actually getting the vaccine, and how much the vaccine costs.

She said they have found that for the most part, the vaccine is being provided free of charge, except for a few examples of people who are stranded in a country that isn't their own.

The team is also comparing vaccine rollouts in wealthy and less wealthy countries as part of a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.

She said it has been "quite clear and obvious" that wealthy countries have been largely successful in rolling out vaccines.

But lower income countries, and even some middle income countries, are having more difficulty procuring vaccine, "because they have been gobbled up by wealthier nations," she said.

'Massive global effort'

She said that is a global issue.

"You've got to limit the spread of the virus and to do that, you've got to limit the spread of people who carry it," she said.

The COVID-19 government response tracker started last March and includes 850 volunteers. Cameron-Blake said the university has partnerships with people across the globe, including in Texas, India, China and Brazil.

"It's been a massive global effort," said Cameron-Blake.

"Being able to engage with people around the world and see how they're getting along, you actually kind of feel like you have a bit of a community and family."

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