Sunday, 07 March, 2021


Moe 'quite troubled' by Trudeau's comments about vaccines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa Friday Nov. 20 2020 Coronavirus | Others to get vaccine first as Canada lacks production capacity, says Justin Trudeau
Patty Aguilar | 27 November, 2020, 04:41

"Why did this prime minister sign deals that placed Canadians months behind Americans for getting a COVID-19 vaccine?" asked Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole during question period in the House of Commons. "So you have to then build the facility to manufacture at scale, which is a challenge".

"I was very concerned and frankly quite troubled to hear the Prime Minister's (Justin Trudeau) comments yesterday that Canada may be at the back of the line when it comes to receiving a vaccine", Moe said.

Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccines later than people in other countries because of a lack of domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Arianne Reza, the Deputy Minister of Procurement and Public Services Canada, said the agency has been working to obtain enough of the necessary supplies - such as needles and freezers - to be able to quickly administer and distribute a vaccine once it has been approved.

While Sanofi has a vaccine plant in Toronto and GlaxoSmithKline has one in Quebec, both make protein-based vaccines, such as the more familiar ones Canadians get every year for the flu. This vaccine similarly spurs the body to generate an immune response that will attack a real SARS-CoV-2 virus in the future and prevent the patient from developing COVID-19.

"We used to have it decades ago, but we no longer have it", he said, while "countries like the United States, Germany and the UK do have domestic pharmaceutical facilities, which is why they're obviously going to prioritise helping their citizens first".

"One is like making wine, one's like making Coke", Andrew Casey, the CEO of BioteCanada, told The Canadian Press Wednesday. "Yes, they both grow in bottles".

Due to the urgent need for COVID-19 vaccines, an interim order has provided them with the ability to fast-track the process, including the option to review data on a rolling basis, instead of once all trials are completed. More than $1 billion has been spent to secure the contracts, which include guarantees of 20 million doses each from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

Countries like the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Spain have announced aggressive vaccination plans, with the shots expected to be rolled out in mid-December.

The approvals he is referencing are Health Canada approvals, which will be required before vaccine doses are doled out.

Earlier this year, it said the facility would be able to produce 250,000 vaccine doses per month as of now.

Trudeau sought to defend his government's handling, noting that it was under the previous Conservative administrations that Canada's domestic capacity dwindled away. "And most importantly, when will we start to receive the vaccine in our respective provinces?"

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said the federal government should have moved sooner to help obtain manufacturing rights and beef up production capacity on Canadian soil.

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