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How has the Pandemic affected you as a cancer patient/survivor

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  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Beesie - There have been different studies, and it depends on which intervals they tested. The earlier ones I saw recommended at least 6 weeks. My husband was like you and got AZ then Pfizer 9 weeks later. I had Moderna (15 wks). My adult daughters had Pfizer with 5 weeks in between. They could have gotten their doses earlier, but they waited as long as they could before they had to start commuting. With Delta they needed the second dose sooner.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
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    We had NAFTA, now we have USMCA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States%E2%80%...

    We have intertwined our economies so much and suddenly when push came to shove, protectionist forces prevailed and shut Canada out of both N95 masks by 3M and from vaccines. 3M has opened up a new plant in Ontario to make masks in Canada. I'm not sure where we are with getting a domestic vaccine manufacturer up again also but given how this played out, I'm wary of being dependent on other countries. Our closest ally shut us out. Everyone wanted free trade when it helped create jobs and build a huge economy but then suddenly it's "this is mine, you can't have it"

    I think it's been a frustrating chapter for Canada but a good eye opener to stop relying on others for some things.


  • teedoff
    teedoff Member Posts: 63
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    I have gotten used to the flow of fairly frequent updates to CDC guidance about vaccine intervals and age expansion. Back in February 2021 in my area it was difficult to get a vaccine appointment. The government was rolling out eligibility based on various criteria including age. When it was our turn, there was a rush to be vaccinated. Second shot was recommended 28 days later and appointments were made. Some of those appointments couldn’t be fulfilled because pharmacies and government vaccine centers did not get their promised supply on time. Many people traveled to more distant locations if they could obtain an appointment. By the time vaccines were offered to the general public it was end of March, early April. People without appointments would go to a location towards the end of the day to see if there were unfulfilled appointments. By the time we started hearing about surplus vaccine it was early May.

    I looked at my card to confirm my dates and know how much time we spent on the internet getting our chain pharmacy appointment. This was our experience. I remember texting with friends back and forth sharing information if we heard that a location was taking appointments. We would rush to the computer to try and get an appointment. In retrospect we would have probably have been better off with a longer interval between shots!

    This is only our experience and doesn’t challenge or refute anyone else’s


  • aram
    aram Member Posts: 320
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    I don't know how many of you had issues with Trump's "America First". Biden continued the policies based on that principle. Logically if you were against it before, you should feel the same now.

    And as a Canadian I do expect my government not to hoard vaccines.

    As moth said after this experience, one of my biggest demands from Canadian government is to ensure we are self reliant when it comes to manufacturing vaccines and other essential products. The trust is broken.

  • latte123
    latte123 Member Posts: 31
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    I am appreciating this thread and the variety of perspectives. I need help understanding this conversation about the U.S. distributing the vaccine to other countries. Here is the official White House strategy for distributing excess vaccines, published June 3, 2021. I am assuming they are following this strategy, am I wrong? Is the issue that not enough of the U.S. vaccine supply will be shared? Official recommendations on a booster are still not set in stone, so it is not clear how many people will qualify and get the booster and how that will affect the number of excess doses. If anyone can enlighten me on this, I would appreciate it and if not, I know we are all busy with lots of stuff and I am not demanding your educational services at this time! I mean that last sentence in the friendliest way possible as I know it can be tiring to educate others . . .

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statement...

  • trishyla
    trishyla Member Posts: 698
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    Thank you for that info, latte123. That sounds much more like what I would expect from the Biden Administration. It just didn't sound right that they would continue Trump's policy of hoarding vaccines.

    They may have been slower getting off the mark than we would like in regards to sharing the surplus vaccine with other countries, but I'm glad that they're finally ramping up programs to distribute them where they are needed most. They know as well as we do that this Pandemic won't be over until all countries have enough vaccinated citizens.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,939
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    Over 11,000 deaths in my state of Backasswardstan. The hillbilly governor is fighting any vaccine or mask mandates. Rat bastard.

    "Missouri on Tuesday surpassed 11,000 COVID-19 deaths, including the death of a child, as early data indicates August was one of deadliest months of the pandemic."

    Full article:

    https://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/coronavirus/death-of-child-added-to-toll-as-missouri-tops-11-000-covid-19-deaths/article_18a7e310-e974-55e9-acf6-a0b9ff013814.html

  • teedoff
    teedoff Member Posts: 63
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    I too am glad we will be sharing now. We in my state did not have an ample supply until late April early May 2021. Once production and distribution ramped up we started hearing about surpluses and waste. Vaccines were readily available. No excuse for hoarding. If boosters wind up being recommended for almost everyone including vaccines for younger children, the US now has the production capacity to meet that need and export as well. I may not be here to see how it goes and my crystal ball hasn’t been so great either. My hope is that we will do what is right and good

  • chowdog
    chowdog Member Posts: 190
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    This is from the state department about the # of doses US has donated.

    https://www.state.gov/covid-19-recovery/vaccine-de...


  • beesie.is.out-of-office
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    "Is the issue that not enough of the U.S. vaccine supply will be shared?"

    No. The issue is that the U.S. government over-ruled the normal workings of corporations in the U.S. by forcing these companies to keep all product manufactured in the U.S..

    Here's an example. To my understanding, currently, the U.S. has virtually no capacity to make the standard antibiotics used to treat ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, UTIs, etc.. These products are imported mostly from China and India. Now suppose that a new disease is spreading around the world. It's discovered that a tweaked version of one of these antibiotics is a successful treatment for this disease. To get a supply of these antibiotics for the American public, the U.S. government places orders on companies in China and India - these are the same companies from whom U.S. government has been buying antibiotics for decades. The companies accept the orders and plan to produce the supply for the U.S. at their manufacturing plants in China and India, the same plants that have produced antibiotics for the America market for years. But then the Chinese government steps in. They say, "No, for this tweaked antibiotic, it is illegal for any companies manufacturing in China to ship any product out of the country." And the Indian government does the same.

    That's what the U.S. government did. They stopped any manufacturer in the U.S. from shipping any Covid vaccines out of the country, even if the manufacturer normally supplied other countries and had orders from other countries. For this one drug only, they in effect changed the definition of "U.S. supply" from "product that the U.S. government purchases and pays for" to "any product manufactured on U.S. soil". The most absurd example of this came with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Most of the world has approved this vaccine, but the U.S. hasn't. AstraZeneca manufactured some vaccines in the U.S.. Because they were not allowed to ship vaccines outside of the U.S., those vaccines rotted in a warehouse. At one point Biden did kindly "loan" a few million about-to-expire vaccines to Canada and Mexico. I thought that was pretty funny. Canada was being "loaned" AstraZeneca vaccines that we had on order from AstraZeneca and that normally would have been supplied to us from that very facility. Actually, not funny at all.

    What the U.S. is doing now, in donating a portion of the vaccines they purchase to COVAX, has nothing to do with what they did to hoard all vaccines manufactured in the U.S.. Good that the U.S. is donating 80 million vaccines. As an FYI, Canada, a country 1/10th the size of the U.S., has committed to donating 40 million vaccines to COVAX (provided that our vaccine purchase orders are fulfilled by the manufacturers, of course). And we've committed $545 million to COVAX for vaccine procurement, distribution and delivery.

    Edited to add: Reading back over the recent posts, I see quite a few comments about the U.S. "sharing" supply with other countries. So to explain my frustration and make my point as clear as possible, let me put it this way. As I see it, the issue isn't about how many vaccines the U.S. has shared or the timing of when they've shared vaccines; the issue is that the U.S. stole vaccine supply that should have gone to other countries who, in good faith and in accordance with previous business practice, in 2020 (before the vaccines were approved and before Trump changed the rules) had placed purchase orders with U.S. based companies.

  • betrayal
    betrayal Member Posts: 2,109
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    I would like to say that your claim that vaccine was so readily available to all Americans is in direct conflict to my experience. Age and immunosuppressed criteria were used and I was not eligible for the first wave of vaccine because even though I met the immunocomprised criteria, I did not meet the age criteria. I was too young. I tried for nearly 2 months to get on the list, putting my name on county and hospital sytem lists and was not able to get an appointment even at a distance from my home. So I got my first vaccination in mid-March and the second in mid-April. Each state had a different rollout based on the amount of vaccine they had available per population. Some of the smaller counties with low population and low infection rates got their vaccine supply earlier than counties with larger populations and a higher infection rate. They also, unfortunately, were in some counties that were inhabited by anti-vaxers.

    I think one of the laws of supply and demand is what the purchaser is willing to pay. Perhaps this had an impact on availability as well. I do not profess to be an economist but I do know that the price of drugs in the US is higher than in Canada and I wonder if price control measures had some impact on who had their orders met? I don't know.

    Just out of curiosity, where does Canada purchase their antibiotics and generic meds?

  • chowdog
    chowdog Member Posts: 190
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    Beesie, stole seems to be a strong word. While I do agree the us could have shared the astra vaccine sooner, I don't believe pfizer and moderna were pumping out unlimited doses during the early months of vaccine launches. The us was supply constrained too. I remember reading tons of tweets from experts trying to convince the government to vaccinate as many ppl with 1 dose only as possible & delay the 2nd dosedue to the supply issue, around feb/early March. It wasn't until late March early April that we started to see more supply.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/02/01/962954518/moderna-increases-covid-19-vaccine-shipments-while-pfizer-lags-behind


    https://www.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/2021/02/big-jump-in-covid-vaccine-supply-expected-by-the-end-of-march-companies-say.html


  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,078
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    Trishla - Hooray - looks like you'll get to keep your sensible, science based governor.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
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    Canada placed an order with US companies as we do with so many items under existing trade agreements, the company agreed, and the US govt overruled it. This is protectionism & kind of flies in the face of all the free trade and special relationship talks...

    Btw, Canada does manufacture some medicines. Theres a pretty notorious 2017 murder case surrounding the owners of Canada's largest generic drug manufacturer .. still unsolved. Apotex makes generics which are sold around the world. We also have brand name drug manufacturing. The feds have invested lots in a new Sanofi plant for flu vaccines which is supposed to have capacity to switch production for any new viral or bacterial threat.

  • trishyla
    trishyla Member Posts: 698
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    I had much the same experience as Betrayal. It took me over a month of constant searching to finally secure an appointment at Dodger Stadium on March 15th. I waited in line for hours to get that first shot.

    I'm sensing a lot of hostility directed at US policies by our lovely neighbors to the north. We may have dropped the ball initially but from everything I'm seeing we are getting back on track to do what we had been doing for the seventy years prior to Trump's election; be one of the top countries dispensing financial aid to less wealthy countries.



  • trishyla
    trishyla Member Posts: 698
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    Yes, MinusTwo, the recall failed miserably, as I knew it would. We're a very blue state, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one. All this did was cost 300 million dollars of taxpayer money because of Republican sour grapes. That could have been better used to house the homeless of provde school lunches to hungry kids. What a waste.

    Newsom, and his handling of the Pandemic, is very popular here. As far as I'm concerned he's done just about everything right.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,078
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    Oh well...as you can see I'm in Texas. No point even discussing what we could have done with surplus funds that were spent filing lawsuits against the feds & passing laws that limit everything except drilling for oil & eating apples (but maybe that will come). It breaks my heart.

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
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    "Stole" is exactly the correct word. It's harsh, but it's become clear to me that without being that harsh and direct, no one except my fellow Canadians is willing to acknowledge and understand what really happened with vaccine supply - started by Trump but mostly under Biden. Shockingly, to me, even using that harsh word, I'm still not getting the point across. The "yes but"s continue.

    Since when does a government "own" all the product manufactured in their country? The government doesn't own these pharmaceutical companies; just because a product is manufactured in U.S. doesn't make it "U.S. supply". The U.S. should have shared the AstraZeneca supply sooner? Canada had orders with AstraZeneca, Canada had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, AstraZeneca produced vaccines. Simple, except that AstraZeneca couldn't use that supply to fill the Canadian orders because the U.S. President wouldn't allow it - even though the U.S. had not even approved the AstraZeneca vaccine and therefore the product could not be used in the U.S.. So the U.S. should have "shared" sooner? How did that ever become "U.S. supply" in the first place? What happened is that by placing orders on AstraZeneca and requiring that U.S. orders be filled first (even with the vaccine not being approved in the U.S.), the U.S. effectively stole the AstraZeneca supply that would otherwise have been earmarked by AstraZeneca for Canada and Mexico.

    And no, it shouldn't matter if U.S. supply was constrained too. Pfizer and Moderna are multinational companies. If they have chosen to rationalize global manufacturing to a limited number of facilities, they do so on the assumption that they can supply all countries from those few manufacturing sites. If they had orders for 1400 units (1000 for the U.S., 300 for Mexico and 100 for Canada) and could only supply 700 units, the supply should have been proportionally allocated with 500 going to the U.S., 150 going to Mexico and 50 going to Canada. It's common sense.

    If tomorrow the U.S. Pfizer manufacturing site was destroyed by a tornado, I'm sure everyone here would agree that European production should be prioritized to get 3rd doses to all of Europe that wants 3rd doses, and no problem, the U.S. will wait until there is excess supply from Europe before getting any more Pfizer vaccines. And if there is a new aggressive Covid variant and a tweaked vaccine developed to combat that variant, no problem, the U.S. will patiently wait for supply until all orders from European countries are filled. Everyone here would be fine with that, right?

    Betrayal, we have some drug production in Canada from multinationals, and there are some large Canadian generic manufacturers - Apotex is probably the best known. But just like the U.S., most of our antibiotics and other drugs come from China and India.

    Over and out.



  • aram
    aram Member Posts: 320
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    Thanks Beesie for the clear explanation. And again unless if you agree with "America First", what Biden did was exactly that.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/...


  • teedoff
    teedoff Member Posts: 63
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    Beesie, I do understand what you have communicated. Understanding a position doesn’t necessarily bring total agreement. I choose not to feel guilty about being in line for a vaccine as determined by my state health department. There was not easy access at that early time for those who wanted/needed the protection vaccines might offer. Was our political leadership unethical in its restrictive policy? You make a good case for the affirmative.

    A time of crisis brings out the best, the worst and even denial. Heroes, villains, bystanders. If I were Canadian, deprived of what was contractually owed to my country by an international corporation, I too would feel it was wrong for another country to restrict or deny these contractual obligations. The rear view mirror can only inform the future. It can’t change the past.




  • betrayal
    betrayal Member Posts: 2,109
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    Do you really think if the shoe had been on the other foot, Canada would have been willing to share their largesse? I think there are issues with your healthcare delivery system and according to what I have read, equity for service availability is not practiced within your provinces. So while your system has many advantages in one sense, I prefer my healthcare system and the liberty to make my choices more. If I need a hip replacement, I do not need to wait years to get it. True, Covid has had a negative effect on availability now, but this will change.

    As Teedoff says we cannot change what has occurred but can hope for change in the future.

    I do not feel guilty about finally getting access to the vaccine after a prolonged wait given that I live in an area (dense population) where initially the number of cases was high but vaccine availability limited. In spite of being high risk, it was the age restriction that denied me earlier access.

  • aram
    aram Member Posts: 320
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    The conversation is not meant to make people feel guilty, neither about comparing healthcare systems. I am sorry if it seemed that way. As individuals we do not have power to change major decisions taken at time of crisis. But accepting the fact that what happened and is happening is not right might be the first step to prevent further similar issues.

    The whole conversation started with booster shots for general population(immunocompromised are a different story) and how people in third world countries are not deserving enough for first or second shots. That statement is very similar to what happened at the beginning. While scientists are saying at this point booster shots are not necessary for the general population, some governments are pursuing it. So no, this is not only about the past. This pandemic is not over till it is over everywhere. So it is in our best interest to ask for fair distribution of vaccines to every willing arm in the world.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Aram 👍

  • teedoff
    teedoff Member Posts: 63
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    Aram, as I said, I have chosen not to feel guilty. Neither does Betrayal. We each have our perspective as you do yours. I as an individual appreciate learning about Canada’s views on vaccine policy then, now and for the future. We have all had the opportunity to express our views and experiences. I don’t feel at all that the conversation has been meant as a guilt trip or hostile toward any of us. In my opinion we have said about all there is to say on this

    To switch gears, I am glad you are finished with weekly Taxol and that it was tolerated well. A great drug for many of us either to prevent recurrence or maintain stability. Unfortunately, I’m in it until it stops working. Hair started growing but now thinning again. Just one of the indignities of cancer treatment. Stay well.

  • latte123
    latte123 Member Posts: 31
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    I appreciate all of the information provided about the US policy as well as sharing about how all of this makes us feel. Conversations across borders are very important. I knew that the US, Canada, the EU, India and other places had various restrictions on sharing the vaccine outside their borders (sometimes called "vaccine nationalism"), so I was wondering about the specifics of this critique of the US policy. I think it is Trump and then Biden's use of the Defense Production Act to maintain supplies necessary to make vaccines and stop the spread (masks) as well as treatment (ventilators). Obviously this did have consequences for other countries. For example, if I were in Canada I would be upset about not getting access to the Astra Zeneca vaccine sitting in the US but not being used.

    I expect that an historian or public health expert will put together an annotated timeline of how each of the wealthier countries responded to sharing the vaccine with poorer countries. It is clear that Biden and other leaders know that we must share the vaccine or it will never go away for any of us. What were the global responses to this issue? What can we learn from all of this to be better prepared and more equitable when things like this arise in the future?

    This is September 2021. The vaccine has only been around this year and supply and access to it in the US was slow in the beginning, as others have pointed out. I live in the Bay Area of California and have stage four breast cancer and I didn't meet the criteria (age based) to get the vaccine until late March. Late March is better than what Canadians experienced, I believe.

    Covid has been tough all around in so many ways. It is kind of people to explain their perspectives. Thank you!

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
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    I'm just going to comment on the hip "years" thing because it's got to be one of those conversation myths that floats around American healtcare debates & it needs debunking. BC has public surgical wait times & I just checked; for hip replacements,. 50% of cases are completed within 14.4 weeks & 90% within 40.5 weeks. Free. No copays, no minimums, no gofundmes

    US meanwhile has an epidemic of amputations because of totally inadequate diabetes care. https://features.propublica.org/diabetes-amputatio...

    but anyway....

    bottom line about the vaccine supply is that it has nothing to do with healthcare systems. this had to do with TRADE & protectionism.

    Whether Canada would do same....well I hope so when it comes to water. Cali wants BC's water and I'm saying nope. It's one of the thorny issues in the trade agreements whether water is included and whether Canada can refuse to export it.

    it's interesting to consider covid as a dry run for a bigger global threat. Can we really work together, or does everyone take all their toys home and barricade themselves in...

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    The frustration that Canada had in waiting 3 months is a fraction of what other countries worldwide are currently experiencing. China and Russia are faltering in their vaccine diplomacy, but if no one steps in, they'll recover. Allies can be bought. Ghana received vaccines from the US recently after Russia failed to deliver. The goal is to beat the pandemic. Letting it rip in other countries will not do that.

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
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    To Aram, wrenn, moth and Seren

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
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    well sure, there is a bigger problem of country inequity. I mean you can say that about anything after a while. Why complain about waiting for treatment or having to pay extra for something when in another country they can't get anything at all & don't even have a mammography machine. I mean, inequity is a whole huge problem.

    I think I just wanted to separate out COVAX and underserved countries from the trade relationships between the G20s & specifically Cda/US. They are different issues trade & legal wise, though again, I can see that ethically maybe they should not be.

    We absolutely should all be supporting COVAX & I totally agree that getting the vax to everyone has got to be the goal. &again, Canada is. MSF has called on Canada to do more because we do have purchase orders for way more doses than we need & the expectation is that many of those will end up being donated.

    No word of a 3rd shot for me btw. BC announced something about it but is rolling it out in such a secretive fashion that nobody knows the criteria and last I saw, it might have been heme onc pts & organ transplant only. Ontario said solid tumor in current treatment but BC hasn't...


  • beesie.is.out-of-office
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    To Aram, wrenn, moth and SerenitySTAT, ThumbsUp.

    My posts were not intended to make anyone feel guilty.

    For me, this has never been a Canada vs. U.S. debate, nor is it about any of us as individuals. We should all be pleased that we received our vaccinations as quickly as we could within our jurisdictions, and I understand the frustration of anyone who had to wait.

    I was merely stating some facts about vaccine distribution and U.S. policy that most Canadians knew but apparently most Americans did not.

    I don't know what Canada would have done had the situation had been reversed. I do know that the EU considered implementing a policy similar to that of the U.S., but decided against doing so. Had the EU done that, most Canadians would likely still not be vaccinated today.

    I agree that the situation today is most dire for people in developing countries. With the exception of those who have underlying health conditions, I question the move in some countries towards 3rd doses while so much of the world awaits their 1st dose. I would be supportive of any amount of money or number of vaccines that Canada chooses to donate to COVAX and believe that this should be the priority at this time.