Tuesday night.

I’m trying to think of something non-work and non-covid related to write about, and I’m drawing a big old blank. Stardew Valley is getting tiresome: that’s blog-worthy, right? Heh. I’ve put in 54 hours into this game so far (that is sad, I know) and it’s getting a bit chore-like. My little farmer dude on his G-Land farm has a nice business going, he married a brilliant local lady that builds sentient robots, and they smooch multiple times a day. What does it say about you when your video game alter ego has a more adjusted social life than you can get because going outside is illegal? I guess it says “maybe a few more dozen hours, and then time to move on.” Who knows, maybe I can try and read all 44 novels and 121 short stories by Philip K. Dick. (I do believe I’ve already read three or four of his books.)

Or maybe I could finally start using that long-zoom camera lens and practice on all the squirrels hanging out in the backyard. I’d just need to open my window and boom – squirrel safari. …this is gonna be a long year.

In covid news, things have gone from weird to bad to worse with Canada and Pfizer. It happened so quickly. First, Pfizer said that due to capacity increase renovations at the Belgian facility, they’d delay shipments of their vaccine for several weeks, but everyone would be affected equally. Then they said that only Canada would get reduced shipments for several weeks, and that the EU would see very minor disruptions in their shipments. And now, just a few hours ago, they said that Canada will not get any vaccine shipments at all next week. That is quite the change, and no one knows what will happen next.

To start with, all first-shot vaccinations have been stopped, and the remaining Pfizer doses will go only to the second-shot folks to make sure they get fully vaccinated. (Or that’s the idea, anyway.) The first-ever large-scale vaccination center that launched in Toronto just a few days ago is being shut down until and unless we get more Pfizer vaccines. (Incidentally, a very nice person from a local health agency emailed me back and assured me that any leftover vaccines go to a waiting list of phase-one folks – they get notified right away. That’s a remarkably smart and efficient system – good for them.) Pfizer said that Canada would get its first-quarter order in time, which means they’ll just send more in February and March. However, they already broke their promise – twice – and trust is not easy to regain.

This is a hot mess, to put it incredibly mildly. Even if Pfizer comes through on their promise and delivers all the ordered doses by the end of the quarter, that’d still run into logistical bottlenecks. If all you have is, say, 50 nurses and 24 hours in one day, they won’t be able to vaccinate 10 times as many people if you give them 10 times more vaccine. There are bottlenecks in the process. No one is saying this out loud yet, but it’s possible that the previous “vaccines for all” timeline might get moved from August to September, or beyond. Of course, it’s always possible that Pfizer will treat Canada with as much respect as they treat the EU going forward, and that bottlenecks will not be an issue, and that no future shipments of any vaccine get misdirected, hijacked, or delayed without an explanation. Anything is possible: as always, I’d love to be proven wrong.

Canada is in a particularly vulnerable position because it doesn’t have its own vaccine manufacturing capacity: from what I understand, that got eliminated in the 1980s, and never got brought back. And despite its size and friendly disposition, Canada isn’t a major player on the worldwide arena, so it comes down to basic geopolitics: both the EU and the US have more pull than us. (Look at me, identifying with Canada after less than two years here, eh.) If some bigger, meaner country decides to flex some muscle to get their hands on the limited vaccine supply, Canada would lose by default. The Moderna vaccine shipments will not be affected by Pfizer’s shenanigans, but with only two approved vaccines so far, this will cut the phase-one vaccination at least in half, and for at least a few weeks.

Canada’s leadership’s response so far is a big shruggy emoji. Ontario’s fearless leader, premier Doug Ford, threatened to sodomize Pfizer’s CEO with firecrackers (no, really, I’m not making that up: “I’d be up that guy’s yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him”), so I’m sure that diplomatic gesture will help our international relations. Everyone gets the leader they deserve, eh?

Anyway – happy last night of Trump presidency, y’all.