Some thoughts on financing health care and producing vaccines here at home.

There have been some interesting positive developments on the vaccine supply front and some initiatives to further stimulate late summer or early fall domestic production of vaccines against covid 19 here in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada. These are very welcome changes in Federal government policy that absolutely need to accelerate so that we will not find ourselves beholden to unresponsive policies of some of our traditional allies when we need their support if vaccine nationalism and their domestic politics prevents them from being supportive .Here we must thank India and its Serum Institute for helping us out at a critical moment .Vaccine nationalism continues to spread and there is a conflict between the EU and its former member the UK over vaccine supplies and exports at the moment. Here in Canada there should be a committee or table of experts established that has as its top priority -perhaps it exists already- planning and developing domestic vaccine production as soon as possible (the latest breaking news from the US suggests that the US will be loaning 4 million vaccine doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine- to Canada 1.5 million and to Mexico 2.5 million – if true this is very welcome news).

On the very critical question of how to advance the cause of health care in Canada the provinces should explore with the Bank of Canada the issuance of special long term bonds, say fifty year bonds at close to one half % interest or even less, to finance much needed critical improvements in the Canadian health care system rather than delay essential improvements that the pandemic has exposed. The provinces should issue the bonds, the Federal government should back them and the central bank should buy them.The federal government should share in the interest cost.

I am as of last week vaccinated with a first dose of a vaccine provided in a well organized clinic in Montreal. Getting a reservation for my age group was fortunately not too taxing and the clinic itself very well run and for that I am very grateful to all the health professionals who organized and administered it.

Vaccine roll out in Quebec continues to improve as more and more vaccines arrive in Canada As of March 11 there were 3.9 million vaccines distributed in Canada. As of March 22-28 there will be an additional 846,000 Moderna vaccines , 1.2 million Pfizer Biontech and some further Serum institute vaccines arriving and allocated and as o f the 4th of April there will be over a million Pfizer vaccines scheduled to arrive each week for the next seven weeks until the sixteenth of May. By the end of June the provincial government of Quebec has targeted vaccinating the entire adult population.Lets hope that there will be no disruptions to the schedule.

About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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