Anita Anand, The Minister tasked with providing billions of PPE to Canada’s front line workers and securing multiple vaccines for Canadians
There is a lot to be said about leadership and having the capacity to make the right decisions in a global pandemic where the fate of a nation depends on you, failure is not an option.
The coronavirus has not only crippled nations and destroyed businesses, but it has also devastated the daily lives of families and communities with a level of uncertainty of what lies ahead.
Yet, despite the global pandemic and the chaos ensuing in many countries, Canadians are the lucky ones. Canadians have had consistent messaging from the top-down to flatten the curb of the virus. The importance of consistency was crucial to reducing the spread of the virus in the early months.
As provinces started to loosen up the rules on social gatherings, more cases began to emerge as the virus spread. Provincial governments are in charge of navigating a tight and tricky balance of social distancing and keeping their citizens’ safe while finding creative ways to keep their economies from collapsing.
In this pandemic, it should not be about pointing fingers and, Canadians must give all premiers the benefit of the doubt that they have the best interest of their citizens at heart. However, that has not always been the case.
As several Canadian provinces continue to set daily records for infections, several premiers have begun to shift blame to the federal government for the outbreaks happening within their jurisdictions.
Many of the premiers chose to implement austerity measures with the pandemic relief funds provided by the federal government, instead of distributing them back into the community as intended.
Some premiers have forgotten to check their ego at the door and have allowed their hubris to govern. They should understand it is not wise to fight with or ignore the advice of scientists or their chief medical officers on decisions that focus on the preservation of life first and the economy second.
As provinces continue to navigate healthcare under their jurisdictions, there is an unsung hero methodically guiding the country’s path back to normalcy through her tireless efforts of securing multiple vaccines and billions of PPE.
That unsung hero is Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand. The Ministry of Public Services and Procurement may not garner the same attention as other high-profile Cabinet positions such as the Minister of Justice, The Attorney General or the Minister of Indigenous Services, but make no mistake, this is an essential portfolio to be entrusted to a Member of Parliament.
The role of the Ministry of Public Services and Procurement is even more evident in the time of a global pandemic. As countries from around the world are struggling to secure vaccines for their citizens, Minister Anand through her tireless efforts has put Canada in an enviable position by securing vaccine commitments from the top 5 drug makers in the world.
Three of those top five drug makers have now applied for emergency FDA authorization of use as their vaccine have met the minimum of 90% efficacy required in their phase three clinical trials.
Vaccination for Canadian citizens will begin in January of 2021, which will be a full month after Canada’s American and British allies. While Minister Anand continues to secure additional medical items such as syringes, gloves and masks in preparation for mass inoculation, there have been recent comments in the news questioning the timing for delivery of the vaccines to Canadians.
The response is simple; in the countries where vaccines are manufactured, it’s only logical that their citizens are the first to be inoculated. And in the event the vaccines were manufactured right here in Canada, it is reasonable to assume Canadian citizens would be first in line to be vaccinated.
Despite the many speculations that Canada should have jumped the proverbial queue in a blatant attempt to bypass the Americans and British is not only irrational thinking, but it is also one that could be costly financially and medically.
Although Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have all applied for Emergency Authorization use within the United States, they still need to go through Health Canada’s process for drug certification.
It is important to note that Pfizer applied to Health Canada for approval of their COVID-19 vaccine on Oct. 9, 2020, according to the Department of Health Canada’s website. However, Canada did not provide approval at that time of receiving Pfizer’s application due to the lack of testing and credible data.
As Canadians patiently wait for the vaccine to reach Canada, there are clear benefits in doing so. Case in point, AstraZeneca’s recent announcement that their COVID-19 vaccine efficacy had questionable results due to manufacturing error.
This kind of error can be costly and potentially fatal. This is precisely the type of error Canada will avoid under the watchful eye of Minister Anand.
Having choices is a great thing. Canada will have little over a month to observe the effectiveness of the various vaccines as they get administered on a large scale. Canadians can remain confident that their government will make the right decision in choosing the most effective vaccine for Canadians come January.
Image source Twitter Feed of Minister Anand