It seems as if the world is inching closer to a long-anticipated coronavirus vaccine.
On Nov. 18, drug maker Pfizer said its coronavirus vaccine was 95 per cent effective and had no serious side effects, according to the New York Times. Another company, Moderna, announced Nov. 16 its vaccine was 94.5 per cent effective, based on early analysis.
In a Nov. 18 tweet, Alberta's health minister Tyler Shandro indicated the province will receive about 465,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine and 221,000 doses from Moderna, with shipments arriving in early 2021.
Polling indicates a majority of Canadians plan to get vaccinated. A survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies released Nov. 16 found 69 per cent of Canadians intend to get vaccinated once Health Canada approves a vaccine, up from 63 per cent in a similar poll Oct. 13. Fourteen per cent said they did not intend to be vaccinated, and 17 per cent were unsure.
Meanwhile, an Ipsos poll conducted in late October indicated less enthusiasm for a vaccine, finding slightly more than half of Canadians – 54 per cent – would "be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they could."
The same poll revealed 82 per cent of Canadians would wait for reports about the effectiveness or any side-effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.
We certainly understand the hesitancy. As Jan Hoffman, health reporter for the New York Times, pointed out on The Daily podcast in July, a number of factors have resulted in reluctance among Americans to receive a vaccination – the speed at which it was developed, and distrust of President Donald Trump and his involvement in overseeing the process leading to the vaccine. At the time, Hoffman described how even "pro-science, pro-vaccine people" will avoid a COVID-19 vaccine. We're sure similar concerns exist on this side of the border.
Ultimately, a vaccine will only work as a remedy to the pandemic if people receive it. We hope when a vaccine is available, sufficient effort will be made to allay people's fears and assure everyone of its safety.