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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is shown at a vaccine clinic in Toronto on Dec. 15, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Inoculation holiday

Re New Variant Found In B.C., Ontario Draws Calls To Step Up Border Security (Dec. 28): I found this as depressing as anything I’ve read about this awful pandemic. We are told that the end of this soul-destroying period of darkness and isolation and crushing boredom is around the corner, and yet vaccines are languishing in freezers somewhere, unused? Come on, Vaccine Rollout Team! We need a heroic effort here. Get every hand on deck – retired nurses, retired doctors, retired medics, the military, anyone who can administer a needle – and let’s get jabbing, around the clock, weekends and holidays included. A daily report of how many have been vaccinated would keep that tiny flame of hope flickering.

Elizabeth Topp Toronto

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Ontario has only administered a fraction of the COVID-19 immunizations that have been received to date. To explain this, a spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott has commented on lack of staffing in the vaccine clinics. I am a family doctor practising in Whitby. I have had no communication from public health on administration of COVID-19 vaccines. If I had access to the vaccine, I know that any supply I receive would be administered quickly and safely. An appeal to the wider medical community would produce the resources needed to administer these desperately needed vaccines quickly, safely and efficiently.

Michael Gertler Ajax, Ont.

Ill prepared, Part 2

Re We Are Not Prepared (Dec. 26): The Globe is to be commended on Grant Robertson’s excellent investigative reporting.

Based on experience, I have always believed that mediocrity rules bureaucracy when it comes to government, but now realize that incompetence trumps mediocracy. It seems clear from the article that Canadians are financing civil servants whose actions have led to disastrous results. I would feel less bad if my taxes went to pay for bureaucrats who did nothing. It is shocking to learn that the Canadian representative on a 21-person international committee of epidemiologists and doctors was not a doctor. And the misrepresentation as a doctor was only removed after The Globe questioned it. Is this the extent of accountability for our public servants? Employees of private enterprises have been fired for much less!

Iqbal Merchant Toronto

Grant Robertson produced a masterful piece of reportage, which fully exposed the government-driven catastrophe at Canada’s Public Health Agency. Over just a few years time, the government fully eviscerated its Global Public Health Intelligence Network, a global pandemic alert mechanism that was revered worldwide. This bureaucratic silencing of science proved to be a tragedy of epic proportion. Alas, a bureaucratic fiasco with far-reaching impact affecting all Canadians.

Steve Sanderson Quispamsis, N.B.

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This article is both timely and damning as we head to our next election. In it, we learn that the government’s claim of making science-based decisions and restoring the autonomy of the scientific community after the alleged dark ages under Stephen Harper has been anything but. Instead, the priority was on providing solutions for problems that didn’t exist – installing senior civil servants to bring improved administration to the presumably rudderless scientists and of course to usurp the trips to Geneva that they assumed were just junkets, with which they obviously had the experience.

Dave McClurg Calgary

Beating the Pandemic

Re The Pandemic Was Beaten By The Few (Editorial, Dec. 28): It was with sadness that I read the line “The Allies didn’t just shelter in place while the Manhattan Project came up with the miracle weapon.”

Miracle weapon! Readers of history know that weapon was not needed to end the war. We have a miracle weapon here in Canada – an engaged public and committed health care workers.

Pat Kaatz Kamloops

Monday’s editorial rightly celebrates the miraculous accomplishments of The Few, that collection of scientists who have cracked COVID-19’s secret code and invented vaccines to defeat it. My suggestion is that The Few be awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and that the financial prize, approximately $1.8-million, be used to help cover the cost of providing those life-saving vaccines to the poorest countries in the world.

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Gary Kapelus Toronto

Online vs. on campus

Re Online Learning Will Be Key, Even Post-COVID (Opinion, Dec. 28): Rahim Rezaie advocates for a hybrid postsecondary education system, which blends online and on-campus learning. Having been a university continuing-studies instructor for almost 30 years, I don’t agree.

Being on campus includes the non-instructional experience: relationships formed, new surroundings and a broadening of perspectives.

I am awaiting a restart of in-class learning, since teaching online has been the single worst experience of my career. The soulless vacuum of muted microphones and cameras turned off is a purgatory for me, but some of my colleagues enjoy it. Rather than a hybrid model, I suggest that colleges and universities offer two different streams, allowing students and faculty a choice, rather than forcing everyone to have a foot in both camps.

Karen MacWilliam Wolfville, N.S.

As a long-time online instructor in teacher training, I applaud Rahim Rezaie’s timely article. I can attest that when virtual classes are planned and designed smartly, they become places of great interaction and engagement. And that’s the key – they need to be planned and designed as such. If not, virtual learning is merely (and sadly) distance education.

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Rob Kerr Guelph, Ont.

I have found value in online learning through university courses on CDs and on YouTube, but these cannot replicate one particular benefit: personal contact on the premises. Without being present at university, how would the individuals who created the Monty Python experience – John Cleese, Michael Palin and Co. – ever have got together with their creative dynamic? I am sure many look back on the on-campus years as a time when they created friendships that have endured through decades, not to mention romances of which I am certain there have been multitudes!

Ian Guthrie Ottawa

Poor sports

Re World Junior Hockey Championship Isn’t As Worldly As Canada Thinks (Sports, Dec. 28):

Sport is sport when it’s fair and somewhat unpredictable and each side is at least competitive with a chance of winning. When it’s a foregone conclusion, it’s no longer a game. When the score is so lopsided, it’s a bad joke. Those running the game can do better.

Jon Heshka Kamloops

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Thanks again to Cathal Kelly for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. Indeed, the word “world” has almost nothing to do with the totality of the sphere on which we all live. This is especially true of ice hockey, which doesn’t even boast a national best-on-best competition – not even for the Winter Olympic Games.

Christopher Cottier, West Vancouver

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