I am sitting on our living room sofa that dates from the 1940s and belonged originally to my paternal grandmother listening to the CBC explore the issue of the vaccine rollout and who are perplexed by the differences in the vaccine roll out between metro Toronto and metro Montreal. The mayor of TorontoJohn Tory had tried to explain why Toronto seemed to lag behind Montreal in the age cohort rollout of the vaccine. Tory wrongly suggested that the explanation lay in the population size differences between the two great metropolises suggesting that Toronto was twice as large as Montreal . Actually Montreal is roughly two thirds the size of Toronto. Montreal‘s population is just over 4 million and that of metro Toronto is just over 6 million.
Furthermore Tory suggested the problem also lay with vaccine supply. There is some truth to that but it applies equally to Toronto and Montreal since the vaccine is distributed on a per capita basis. Another analyst, an Ontario health official Joe Cressy had a more sophisticated explanation but also misleading. He suggested that Toronto had a higher percentage of its population working in the medical professional field and that they were still being vaccinated in large numbers thereby delaying the vaccination of the elderly. The decision to do this was still sound but it did make a difference in the rate of vaccination by age group.
But this ignores the reality that there is a large number of medical professionals in Montreal who have also been vaccinated. So in the end there are some interesting questions to be resolved. what are the policy decisions that lie behind these differences. Is the Ontario government making the right decisions about its rollout.What are the numbers of those over 65 or 70 in each of the two centres . Generally speaking the pandemic has exposed a number of weaknesses in Canadian health policy including the easy provision of accurate data. as well as the complications of living in a federal state. It was good to hear the Prime Minister highlight the importance.of domestic production which I and others have argued was preferable to dependence on imported vaccine with all the potential problems that entails.