Braid: The promise of a vaccine in January comes with great hope, high stakes

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Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs Paul Wynnyk in Edmonton on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Before joining government, Wynnyk was an officer in the Canadian Forces for 38 years. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-general, commanded the army and served as vice-chief of the defence staff.

Any soldier of that rank knows the crucial importance of logistics. Just as soldiers need boots, health workers will need their vaccine, delivered to sites around the province with specialized shipping and precise timing.

The challenges are immense. But planning has been going on for months and Wynnyk has the experience to handle the military-scale logistics of this operation.

The government sees as crucial the first wave of vaccinations in care centres and among at-risk health workers.

The politicians rarely say this out loud because it sounds cold-blooded; but once the elderly and care centre residents stop getting sick, the crisis in acute care and ICU beds is basically over.

Regular care functions will then reoccupy the space and resources they’ve given over to COVID-19.

Elective surgeries will ramp up again and the hospitals will slowly return to their normal state — that is, deeply challenged in the traditional Alberta way, but finally pulling free of the terrible virus.

Of course, all this is still a dream until the vaccine arrives, people get inoculated, and it works.

But for the first time in the long struggle that is 2020, the odds start to look pretty good.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Twitter: @DonBraid

Facebook: Don Braid Politics

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