To watch the race press the play button at the lower left of the chart.“We are in a race between the variant and the vaccine," Robert Strang said in April. Nova Scotia’s head public health official was referring to his province at the time, but he summed up the situation every province, every country, every continent is facing in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks and hand sanitizer are useful tools in the fight to slow the spread of the virus, but vaccination with the likes of AstraZeneca and the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna is what’s really key to establishing herd immunity.
So how is Canada’s vaccine rollout going? The animated chart above—fittingly known as a racing bar graph or a bar chart race—can explain in about 30 seconds. It shows the percentage of the population in each province and territory that has received at least one dose of vaccine, from the start of vaccinations in December to now, using data that the federal government releases weekly.
This is the percentage of the total population, not just those ages 12 and up, who are currently the only people eligible for COVID vaccines (which is a smaller population, and therefore would make the vaccination rates seem higher). The whole herd, that is, in terms of herd immunity. And to be clear, these percentages on the chart are people with either one dose or both doses of vaccine; to be considered fully vaccinated a person needs both doses. (The Coast has a separate tracker of the fully vaccinated population which you can click here to access.)
You’ll notice a lot of jockeying for position as the chart progresses over time. When doctor Strang talked about the race in April, for example, Nova Scotia had been dead last for months, with the lowest vaccination rates in the country. A few weeks later, the province had caught up to the middle of the pack, and then in late June was leading the pack before strong performances from Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon and Prince Edward Island. The Coast will update this chart every week when new information comes out to let you know how the race is progressing.
Press the play button in the lower left corner to watch the animation, or use the slider on the timeline at the bottom of the chart to find each province and territory’s position in any week. Clicking a place’s name in the rows near the top of the chart turns that place on or off in the chart; you can run the race between just Ontario, Quebec and the Canada-wide vaccination total, or isolate the western provinces plus Prince Edward Island. The combinations are endless! Just don’t spend so much time watching the numbers that you forget to get vaccinated yourself.
First published June 1, updated regularly with the federal government’s weekly vaccination data.