Slow Vaccine Rollout Is a Risk to Canada’s Recovery, BMO Says

Canada’s vaccine rollout has been slower than expected and the laggardly pace could prompt a reassessment of how robust the country’s economic recovery will be, according to Bank of Montreal.

Only 0.32% of the Canadian population had been inoculated as of Monday, making it a “relative underperformer” versus peers such as the U.S. and the U.K., which have both vaccinated 1.4%, Doug Porter, chief economist at the Toronto-based lender, said Tuesday in a report to investors.

Slow Vaccine Rollout Is a Risk to Canada’s Recovery, BMO Says

Canada has administered about 40,000 doses a week since Covid-19 vaccinations began in December. Authorities will need to raise that to 550,000 doses a week to reach 60% of the population by September. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he expects anyone who wants to get vaccinated will be able to by that time.

“Some of the sluggish pace may simply reflect teething pains that might get smoothed in the weeks ahead,” Porter said. “If not, current robust expectations for activity later this year may soon see some serious scaling back.”

Most economists, including Porter, expect a sharp rebound in economic activity in the second half of this year as vaccinations proceed.

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