Editorial: There’s hope ahead | Farmtario

I recently had my COVID-19 vaccination. It was one of the best and most hopeful days I’ve had in a while.

I’ve still got some time to go before the first vaccination kicks in and I’m mostly covered, and then a while to wait until a second vaccination before I’m fully covered, but it’s a relief to know that the chances of me ending up seriously ill, in the hospital or dead from COVID-19 are now very slim.

I was part of the crew that raced to get the vaccination when the age was lowered to 40 for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I envisioned my vaccination would be a big event, lined up (distanced) with people at one of our local community centres, giving congratulatory waves and nods to people I knew and laughing at people inspired to dance a bit after their vaccination.

However, my vaccination was quiet, early in the morning, before the tiny McIntyre Pharmacy in Parkhill opened, with a few other people spaced across the store. We congratulated each other, then quietly went on our way. I sat in the truck and grinned stupidly for a minute, excited that this world-turning pandemic will soon be on the run.

Pharmacists deserve great credit as part of our vaccination effort, hiring extra staff and working long hours to get vaccines in arms. They are an example that in massive society-wide efforts, local engagement is critical.

Vaccines are one of the major reasons we live to be 80 not 60, along with antibiotics, cleansers and electricity.

There’s a reason that more than 90 per cent of people over the age of 80 have been vaccinated and 88 per cent of people over 75. They remember the nasty diseases of their childhood like polio and smallpox — both eradicated by vaccines.

Livestock farmers know the value of vaccines. Feedlot operators will take vaccinated calves over unvaccinated calves whenever they can as the numbers on gain and health are clear, especially related to respiratory illness.

The J5 vaccine has had a significant effect on managing E. coli mastitis on dairy farms. 

The hog sector has the most rapid-response experience when it comes to vaccination, with some vaccines developed quickly for disease outbreaks and the use of endogenous vaccines to prepare new arrivals for the disease population in one particular herd.

It’s not surprising that vaccines will take us out of this crisis too.

There’s already broad proof of that happening.

Deaths from COVID in long-term care homes have plummeted after vaccines were rushed first to those hotspots, a prudent decision finally made to protect the elderly, after the virus spread through those homes and bumped up Canada’s death rate.

Two of the places that had the worst time controlling the virus are now seeing cases drop to much more manageable levels since aggressive vaccination campaigns were started. About three per cent of Canadians have been infected by COVID-19, but the number is 10 per cent in the United States and 15 per cent in the United Kingdom, according to data from Statistica.

However, both the U.S. and the U.K. have avoided the nasty third wave that’s keeping Canadians home and intensive care units full, because of aggressive vaccinations.

Britain recently had about 2,200 cases in one day, compared to a peak of 60,000 per day in January. Ontario alone is well more than 2,200 cases per day, although I hope that the fast rate of vaccination in Canada will start to have an effect soon.

My nephews in the U.K. are back playing roller hockey, cricket and are in school, while my children are at home full time again and my daughter may not see the school again in her Grade 12 year.

We’re about four months behind the leaders in vaccinations and we need to figure out why that happened. Are we destined to accept worse terms as a smaller country that can’t attract pharmaceutical powerhouses? Did the federal government misjudge when it negotiated delivery terms? Do we lack the big stick of the U.S.?

However, we are well on our way, now with one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world. There are some who expect us to overtake the United States in a month in first vaccination rates. 

My hopeful expectation is that we will lead the world in total population vaccinated. So far, the age groups who have been vaccinated has shown very high acceptance. Those numbers will likely drop as vaccinated populations get younger, but Canadians generally have more trust in our regulatory agencies, pride in our health system and are less infected by the conspiracy craziness to the south of us.

That has me looking forward to late summer and fall.

Source: Farmtario.com