Braid: Moderna boss won’t push Canada aside in COVID-19 vaccine rush


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Health Minister Patty Hajdu answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Thursday, October 8, 2020 in Ottawa. Photo by Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press / Feature

COVID-19 vaccines are a much more complex problem. The federal government buys and distributes. They have to develop timelines and systems with each province and territory. Some vaccines require very complex shipping.

And first, federal regulators must also approve vaccines.

“We will never interfere with the work of regulators,” Hajdu said.

“They have to be independent in order to be able to make these decisions without political influence. It can reassure Canadians that whatever we approve will be safe.

The Liberals’ record on political interference is not entirely exceptional, so we will take it into account.

But Hajdu, who has been pilloried as ignorant and incompetent, strikes me as capable, well-meaning and fully attuned to the enormous challenges she faces.

She says she cannot determine “an exact date” for the distribution.

“Everything is not going to happen at the same time,” she notes. “In every country in the world, that planning is underway right now, to determine who the priority populations are to get those first vaccines.”

Canada may not have planned early enough to distribute something that did not yet exist. There will surely be inefficiencies.

But we are in a silent war. As in any time of war, vast systems must be reshaped to effectively attack the enemy.

It is hard work, but Canadians have long proven that we are very good at it.

Although the Alberta pandemic is getting worse every day – a record 1,733 new cases announced on Monday – there is also much more promising news than we could have imagined just a month ago.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

The original column has been changed to reflect the number of cases as of November 30.

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