When a polio vaccine was announced in 1953, the CBC reported that in Canada “the response was the same as at the end of a terrible war”. The 13,109 Canadians the Covid-19 has killed, the hundreds of thousands it has made sick, and the economic turmoil it has brought to the nation also appear to be the toll of battle. The vaccine approved by Canada this week also appeared to be a truce, if not a truce. The first shipment of the vaccine, made by the American company Pfizer and a German company, BioNTech, is expected to be on the way this weekend, and the first vaccinations could be given as early as Tuesday. Initial quantities will be small compared to the millions of cans expected to arrive in the New Year, making the first cans more of a starter than a rollout.

[Read: Canada Approves Vaccine and Could Start Shots Next Week]

Everything that has to do with the vaccine depends of course on who gets it and when. Or, as one journalist told officials during one of the vaccine approval press conferences, “How can you make sure this isn’t like The Hunger Games of vaccines?”

The province decides who gets the shots first. However, a federal body has drawn up a list of recommendations for selecting first recipients, a list of candidates, which limits officials to four groups: people over 80; Residents of nursing homes, a group that accounts for 71 percent of deaths so far, and the workers who serve them; Health care workers; and indigenous communities.

For the first few thousand cans that are on the way, plans vary by province. Quebec will focus on nursing homes while Saskatchewan will initially inject health care workers.

In the three areas – the Northwest Areas, Nunavut, and Yukon – no one will receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine anytime soon. Instead, governments in the far north have decided to wait for Moderna’s vaccine, which is nearing approval and will be easier to use, said Dr. Howard Njoo, the country’s deputy chief public health officer. It doesn’t require the extremely low temperatures that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine provides.

Children also won’t get the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine right away. It is only approved for use by people aged 16 and over.

Dr. Njoo warned that decision-making would not end after officials determined which groups would receive them first. You may need to decide whether it makes sense to initially only vaccinate people who live in the cities where the 14 centers where the vaccine is delivered are located. Each province has at least one center, with two each in Ontario and Quebec, but none in rural areas.

“If you want to vaccinate health workers, where do you start?” Dr. Njoo asked at a press conference this week. “Could it be easier and more practical to do this in a facility in an urban setting? Not to say that health care workers who provide health care and direct health care in a remote or rural setting are not so important. “

Regardless of what decisions the provinces ultimately make, the plan is to only vaccinate people from the groups with the highest priority by the end of March. During this time, the federal government expects four million doses of Pfizer and, if approved, two million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. Until then, governments will have to figure out how to deal with the remaining 35 million Canadians.

It has been widely established that both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use radically new technology. My colleagues Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer have prepared definitive guides to help understand both.

[Read: How the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Works]

[Read: How Moderna’s Vaccine Works]

  • Fifty years have passed since the October Crisis was sparked by the kidnapping of UK Trade Commissioner James Cross and the kidnapping and murder of Quebec Deputy Prime Minister Pierre Laporte. Dan Bilefsky reports that a film made by the son of a leader of the FLQ, the violent extremist group that carried out the attacks, was a success and at the same time “underscores the sensitivity of the events of the time.”

  • On another grim anniversary, two years have passed since the Chinese government arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. In their reporting, Javier C. Hernández and Dan noted that the two men “have now become symbols of the aftermath of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy and that their fate is apparently intertwined with the future of China’s turbulent relations with Canada and the United States.” .

  • Catherine Porter reports that Christmas broke early in pandemic Canada and Christmas trees have become scarce in some communities.

  • After publishing an annual report on the Arctic, a climate specialist told Henry Fountain, who reports on climate problems for The Times, that “almost everything in the Arctic, from ice and snow to human activity, changes so rapidly that none.” there is reason to believe that in 30 years much will be as it is today. “

  • Lynn Marchessault set off from Georgia with her two children, two dogs, and a cat to reunite 6,000 kilometers with her husband, a US Army sergeant stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. Snow turned the passage through western Canada into a nightmare. She was about to give up when Gary Bath, a Canadian veteran, came to the rescue.

  • A United States-appointed committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields has concluded that the mysterious disease affecting American and Canadian diplomats known as Havana Syndrome is likely caused by “directional, pulsed radio frequency energy.” has been.

  • The Trump administration is on its way out, but is using the trade deal that NAFTA replaced to challenge Canada’s dairy supply management system, says Ana Swanson.

  • Fred Sasakamoose, who died at the age of 86, played only 11 games in the NHL but became a hero of the indigenous people and spent decades mentoring and encouraging young First Nations players.

  • As Pat Patterson, Montreal native Pierre Clermont played the villain in countless wrestling matches before becoming an executive in the wrestling world. In 2014, he announced that he was gay and breaking a barrier in that community. Mr. Patterson died last week at the age of 79.

Ian Austen is from Windsor, Ontario. He was trained in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has been reporting on Canada for the New York Times for 16 years. Follow him on Twitter @ianrausten.

We look forward to your thoughts on this newsletter and on events in Canada in general. Please send them to nytcanada@nytimes.com.

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