“The fact that doctors have pointed out that if everything goes according to plan, we should be able to get a majority of Canadians vaccinated by next September puts us in a very good position,” Trudeau said, speaking from the steps of Rideau Cottage.
“We are working extremely hard to deliver as quickly and safely as possible.”
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One of Canada’s top doctors said shortly after that a September schedule was “optimistic” – although he added that he shared that optimism with the Prime Minister.
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“I still agree with our prime minister,” Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Njoo said with a smile as he spoke French to reporters on Friday.
“It is very difficult to talk about precise figures. I think the Prime Minister is optimistic, too. There are a lot of unknowns. “
Canadians could receive first COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021
Njoo explained that as it is, no vaccine has been approved for use in Canada. Even though the two most likely vaccine candidates receive regulatory approval in the coming weeks, there are still five other vaccine candidates that Canada has signed advance purchase agreements with, still leaving plenty of issues outstanding.
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“With the approval, perhaps, of these two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, we may be looking at delivery of around six million doses in January and February,” Njoo said.
“Beyond that, it’s hard to say because if we’re talking about September or December, it’s several months away.”
Njoo added that what Trudeau said in terms of timing this morning is “good” because it is a “target”.
“If the Prime Minister has set September as his goal, it is great because we continue to work hard to be able to offer immunization to the majority of Canadians. So if it’s September or December, for me it’s just a matter of months, ”Njoo said.
Trudeau also provided details on how the plan to roll out these vaccines is starting to take shape. He shared that he had hired the former head of the NATO mission in Iraq, Major General. Dany Fortin, to lead the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by the federal government.
Coronavirus: Trudeau describes COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, names Major-General. Dany Fortin will lead vaccine logistics and operations
Fortin will lead logistics and operations within the National Operations Center that the government is establishing to receive and distribute vaccines.
“Canada is well prepared for the large-scale vaccine deployment, but this will be the largest immunization in the country’s history. We need to reach out to everyone who wants a vaccine, no matter where they live, ”Trudeau said.
He said specific challenges in this regard include ensuring that the vaccine can reach indigenous and rural communities, as well as the ultra-cold storage requirements of some of the vaccine candidates.
“For our part, the federal government has already purchased freezers to work for specific vaccine candidates,” Trudeau said.
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He said in a meeting with Canada’s prime ministers on Thursday, provincial and territorial leaders raised concerns about making sure everyone – including vulnerable Canadians – can access the vaccine. .
“When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready. We’re in the same boat, ”Trudeau said.
“And the more we work as a team, the better we will do.”
This follows news that Canada could see regulatory approval for a promising vaccine candidate as early as next month.
“Vaccines are on the horizon. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, ”Trudeau said.
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Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said Thursday that Canada had “similar deadlines” to the United States and Europe for the approval of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be approved in Canada next month.
In the meantime, Trudeau said the government had worked “extremely hard” to ensure that a vaccine could be distributed “as quickly and safely as possible.”
“We have continued to work with the provinces on vaccine delivery and logistics since last spring. We made a commitment to understand that a vaccine was going to be the way we were going through this pandemic, ”Trudeau said.
“That’s why, from the start, we’ve signed one of the most diverse contracts of any country in the world for more doses per capita than any other country in the world. We make sure Canadians are protected.
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