Canada’s vaccination rollout has gone poorly, to say the least. The country currently ranks just 40th in vaccine doses per capita. It is being soundly whipped by Morocco, Turkey, and Serbia — nations which aren’t known for bragging insufferably about their single-payer healthcare systems. Even worse for Canadians, they trail the United States. For a country that views its identity through the prism of its southern neighbor, this must be a most demoralizing experience.
On Monday, Canada’s national advisory committee on immunization announced that ‘saving lives’ will be shoved violently down the list of priorities in its vaccination drive. Instead, the country is placing a focus on racial equity — ‘Black Lives Matter More’, if you will.
For Phase 2 of the country’s vaccine rollout, Canadian experts have recommended prioritizing ‘adults in racialized and marginalized communities’ ahead of anyone under 60 with a major comorbidity that puts them at risk from coronavirus. The racial hierarchy doesn’t end there. It is better to be in a ‘racialized’ community than to be white, but it is best of all to be a First Nations citizen, an indigenous person. They enjoy the privilege of being vaccinated even ahead of 50-pounds-overweight 69-year-olds with heart conditions. Being marginalized never felt so good. Of course, wasting inoculations on healthy 25-year-olds in the name of racial justice will raise the death rate for everyone, including Canada’s preferred racial winners. One year into the coronavirus epidemic, the disease’s risks are fairly well understood. The virus poses a non-existent risk to children and almost none to healthy adults under 50. But tack on a few prosperity-linked ailments, like obesity, diabetes and hypertension, and the danger grows rapidly. So, if you want to drive down the death rate, the process is simple: relentlessly target the elderly, along with anyone sporting the worst co-morbidities. Protect those groups, and it will scarcely matter who else gets the virus (or the vaccine).
But just like how in America we show that Black Lives Matter by neutering police and doubling the murder rate in cities with heavily black populations, in Canada the best way to show concern with health equity is to raise COVID-19 death rates for everyone. Doubtless this sounds backwards to simpletons who see preventing unnecessary deaths as the chief goal of public health. But the simpletons aren’t in charge. Other countries will soon follow suit.