Politicizing vaccine distribution could be a distraction: Ontario lead in emergency medicine
Canada has secured 417,000 early doses of two COVID-19 vaccines, part of a push by Justin Trudeau’s government to inoculate as many Canadians as possible against the virus before the end of the year.
The government reached an agreement with Moderna Inc. for as many as 168,000 doses of its vaccine, which will be shipped within 48 hours of Health Canada’s approval, the prime minister said Tuesday. The first inoculations of the approved Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shot began Monday, with the bulk of an initial order of 249,000 due next week.
“As with the early shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, this moves us even further forward on getting Canadians protected as quickly as possible,” Trudeau told reporters at an Ottawa news conference. “The regulatory process for the Moderna vaccine is ongoing, but I want to assure Canadians that any vaccine approved in Canada will be both safe and effective.”
A second wave of COVID-19 is hitting Canada hard, with new cases averaging about 6,500 a day, or triple what was seen in April and May. The virus has killed more than 13,500 people so far across the country.
Trudeau said there will be 70 inoculation sites established as of next week, up from the 14 sites currently operating in urban centers. He added that the northern territories and remote areas will be prioritized for the Moderna vaccine, which has less onerous logistical requirements.
Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech shot on Dec. 9, and is nearing the completion of its review of Moderna’s candidate. Potential vaccines from AstraZeneca PLC and Johnson & Johnson are also making their way through the regulatory process.
Trudeau’s team, led by Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Procurement Minister Anita Anand, has positioned Canada ahead of the pack on vaccine supply. The government has secured enough doses for more than 400 per cent of its population, ahead of the U.K.’s 295 per cent and Australia’s 230 per cent, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.