From the desk of Jonathan Kolber
I’d like to share with you my expectations regarding COVID-19, vaccines and testing that I believe will positively impact international student mobility to Canada.
After speaking extensively to leading medical professionals in our community, I am optimistic about safe travel, in person study and developing herd immunity in 2021. Below is my expected timeline of events:
Lockdown – Within two weeks
Canada needs to avert a hospital capacity crisis and I expect the country will have no choice but to go into lockdown again next week until the end of the year.
This will help our industry and community get to the other side of the pandemic. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and we have a plan on how to get there.
Vaccines – December 2020
Two vaccines with 95% effectiveness will be ready and approved for use in Canada. The Canadian Government has already purchased 20 million vaccines from Pfizer and 50 million vaccines from Moderna. Other vaccines under development include not just needles, but nasal spray and a vaccine that can be swallowed. For live updates, follow the New York Times COVID19 Tracker.
Initial distribution – January 2021
Distribution will take time due to challenges in delivery. The most vulnerable populations will be vaccinated first: the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and frontline healthcare workers.
Distribution to general population – Spring 2021
Vaccinations will be distributed to the general public starting in March, but it will take time. By late summer, the population is expected to approach herd immunity, which occurs when 60-70% of the population has either recovered from COVID or has been vaccinated.
Rapid testing – Early 2021
We expect Canada will offer rapid testing at airports, meaning arriving students will be able to get tested on the spot with results in 15 minutes.
Return to normal – September 2021
We expect COVID will be tamed and life will mostly return to normal, with students in Canada studying in classrooms without masks.
Is the vaccine safe?
I am not an expert, but I will be the first in line to take it. There is not a single doctor that I am aware of who does not support the safety and importance of this vaccine.
I hope this helps with your planning and recruitment of students to Canada in the new year.
At ILAC, we look forward to recruiting pathway students in time for a healthy September 2021 intake for public sector higher education programs.