Thursday, 21 January, 2021


LILLEY: Trudeau's vaccine boast still means Canadians will have a long wait

Yves-François Blanchet wearing a suit and tie Provided by The Canadian Press
Patty Aguilar | 27 November, 2020, 23:46

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back against critics of his government's COVID-19 vaccination plan with assurances most Canadians would be inoculated by September 2021, with a former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander leading distribution.

Public health officials said this week that three million Canadians, or eight percent of the population, should receive vaccinations in the first three months of the year.

Trudeau said the armed forces will assist in planning for and tackling pressing challenges, such as the cold-storage requirements for the promising Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine is most advanced in Health Canada's reviews, Supriya Sharma, senior medical adviser at Health Canada, said at a press briefing in Ottawa.

"We expect certain vaccines to become available in early 2021", said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer. "When are we going to get the vaccines?' What we can say is, we are working extremely hard to deliver as quickly and as safely as possible... if all goes according to plan, we should be able to have the majority of Canadians vaccinated by next September", Trudeau said.

Moe pointed to contracts the federal government signed with pharmaceutical companies in September, where Canada had secured millions of doses.

"We have a committee that's a cross-government committee that ensures we have the appropriate infrastructure in place", said McNeil. Because COVID-19 is a new disease and there are different approaches to tackling it, Canada wanted to keep its options open, he said. "This [is] the greatest mobilization effort Canada has seen since the Second World War".

"I think the general timelines of authorizations around December, and getting the shipments in January, and getting those moving in January are the best (forecasts) we can give at this time", she said.

Premiers and other federal parties have been demanding a clear plan from the federal government on how they will vaccinate the nation against COVID-19, calling for firm dates and details.

In case of another pandemic in the coming years, he said "we never want to be caught short again, without the ability to support Canadians directly".

Fortin's appointment comes amid more alarming daily COVID-19 case numbers from Ontario, which reported 1,855 new cases, and 20 more deaths.

Njoo later said the Prime Minister's prediction is "in the same ballpark" as previous rollout plans, and said September was a good target to work towards.

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