For months, the Prime Minister has said that the best COVID-19 vaccine is the first one that’s offered to you. If you’ve been watching the headlines this week, that might have felt hard to square with the message brought forward by the independent body of experts offering guidance on approved vaccines (you may know them as the National Advisory Committee on Immunization). NACI this week reiterated their position that mRNA shots — like those from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna — are their “preferred vaccines” over viral vector shots like AstraZeneca, because of the latter’s rare risk of blood clots. But as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam underscored this week, it all comes down to weighing that risk against the risk of contracting COVID-19. Elamin and Rosie realize it’s a lot of information for anyone to navigate, which has them wondering: if NACI’s main role is to provide recommendations to those distributing vaccines, namely provinces and territories — should this committee be speaking directly to Canadians?
Rosie and Elamin also turn their attention to Alberta, which is experiencing the highest active case rate per capita compared to any other province or U.S. state. Premier Jason Kenney has announced a new round of public health restrictions, after facing criticism over waiting too long to enact further measures — and additional criticism from even inside his own caucus, as some MLAs have condemned further restrictions. How can Alberta climb out of this?