Confusion? Some – but COVID expertise is evolving

By Shachi Kurl, President

March 5, 2021 – Oh dear, what can the matter be? This latest episode of COVID-19 upset is brought to you by a couple of chief medical officers on opposite ends of the country, and an organization you’ve probably never heard of unless it was your business to hear about it.

To the west, British Columbia’s Dr. Bonnie Henry was at the helm of an audacious decision (well, audacious by Canadian standards) to lengthen the time between first and second injections of available COVID-19 vaccines from 42 days to four months. This initially put new guidance from B.C. at odds with the public pronouncements of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), at first leading to confusion (before NACI aligned its message days later) and later causing 90-year-olds in B.C. to learn their second shot wasn’t coming for some time, in turn leading local opposition politicians to rail.

To the east, Dr. Robert Strang was musing out loud about how to best to administer a limited supply of AstraZeneca product being delivered to Nova Scotia, in part because that same NACI was not recommending that this vaccine to be approved for people over age 65, while its efficacy at preventing COVID-19 among younger people wasn’t reported to be as high as other vaccines.

News reports spoke of consternation and mixed messages.

“This will cause confusion!” cried some political watchers. “It could drive up vaccine hesitancy!” (This isn’t actually true – at least not so far. Data to be released in the coming days by the Angus Reid Institute will show that the desire and urgency among Canadians to be vaccinated hasn’t significantly budged).

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.

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