Times Colonist

Most Cana­di­ans could be vac­ci­nated by next Septem­ber, PM says

- Canada News · Vaccines · Medical Treatments · Justin Trudeau · NATO · Ottawa · United States of America · Pfizer · Moderna Therapeutics · Health Canada · Ontario · Quebec · Public Works and Government Services Canada

Be­set by on­go­ing ques­tions about Canada’s COVID-19 vac­cine strat­egy, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau tried to as­suage the pub­lic with as­sur­ances most Cana­di­ans could be in­oc­u­lated by Septem­ber 2021, with dis­tri­bu­tion led by a for­mer NATO com­man­der.

Trudeau faced a bar­rage of ques­tions about when and how such a roll­out would un­fold at a press con­fer­ence on Fri­day, ac­knowl­edg­ing pub­lic anx­i­ety amid alarm­ing in­fec­tion rates and hos­pi­tal­iza­tions that have scut­tled hol­i­day hopes for much of the coun­try.

But while promis­ing vac­cine news of­fered “light at the end of the tun­nel,” Trudeau said “we must hold on a lit­tle longer.”

“What re­ally mat­ters is when we get across the fin­ish line. … The fact that the doc­tors high­lighted that if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, we should be able to have the ma­jor­ity of Cana­di­ans vac­ci­nated by next Septem­ber, puts us in very good stead,” he said, of­fer­ing the gov­ern­ment’s most spe­cific time­line yet.

“We’re go­ing to con­tinue to do ev­ery­thing we can to de­liver for Cana­di­ans, lis­ten­ing to ex­perts work­ing with top peo­ple to make sure that we’re do­ing this right, and quickly and safely.”

Trudeau said Canada has turned to Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead dis­tri­bu­tion and han­dle lo­gis­tics that in­clude cold stor­age re­quire­ments, data shar­ing, and reach­ing In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

He in­sisted Ot­tawa is com­mit­ted to work­ing with the prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries on se­cur­ing safe and ef­fec­tive COVID-19 vac­cines as quickly as pos­si­ble.

U.S. of­fi­cials have said

6.4 mil­lion doses of Pfizer’s vac­cine could reach some pri­or­ity cit­i­zens within 24 hours of reg­u­la­tory clear­ance, while Moderna’s vac­cine could be avail­able by the end of the year, al­though the pub­lic likely wouldn’t get doses un­til the spring.

Pro­cure­ment Min­is­ter Anita Anand also faced ques­tions over a pre­cise de­liv­ery date. She said she is in con­stant con­tact with sup­pli­ers to make sure vac­cines can be de­ployed as soon as they are ap­proved for use.

“This is a com­plex process. This is an un­cer­tain en­vi­ron­ment. But we are on top of it,” said Anand. “I per­son­ally will make sure that we have vac­cines in place in Canada when Health Canada has pro­vided the reg­u­la­tory ap­proval.”

Trudeau’s Septem­ber time­line was echoed by deputy chief pub­lic health of­fi­cer Dr. Howard Njoo, who had last week sug­gested the pos­si­bil­ity of a fall goal line for vac­ci­nat­ing the ma­jor­ity of Cana­di­ans.

Njoo said Fri­day the prime min­is­ter’s pre­dic­tion is “in the

same ball­park” as pre­vi­ous roll­out plans, and a good tar­get to work to­wards.

But he cau­tioned there are still “a lot of un­knowns.”

“Cer­tainly we’ve al­ways been sort of op­ti­mistic, cau­tiously op­ti­mistic, about what the vac­ci­na­tion roll­out will look like,” said Njoo.

“Right now it’s a bit of a mov­ing tar­get. We have two vac­cines which are very promis­ing but they’re still in the process of go­ing through the reg­u­la­tory process. If all goes well, and they are ap­proved, then they’re the first two out of the pipe­line.”

The news fol­lows more

alarm­ing daily COVID-19 case num­bers from On­tario, which re­ported a record 1,855 new cases, and 20 more deaths on Fri­day.

Que­bec re­ported 1,269 new COVID-19 in­fec­tions and

38 more deaths linked to the virus, in­clud­ing nine that oc­curred in the past 24 hours.

Ot­tawa has fi­nal­ized agree­ments with five vac­cine mak­ers and is in ad­vanced ne­go­ti­a­tions with two more.

The deals would se­cure 194 mil­lion doses with the op­tion to buy an­other 220 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Canada.

 ?? ADRIAN WYLD, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS ?? Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau dur­ing a news con­fer­ence out­side Rideau Cot­tage in Ot­tawa on Fri­day.
ADRIAN WYLD, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau dur­ing a news con­fer­ence out­side Rideau Cot­tage in Ot­tawa on Fri­day.

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