Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday February 6, 2021
Trudeau tries to reassure Canadians vaccines are coming
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried Friday to reassure Canadians his plan to vaccinate them is working despite mounting criticism his government is not getting vaccines soon enough.
Trudeau said there is “a lot of anxiety and a lot of noise,” but said Canada is still on track to get 6 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March and 20 million in the spring.
“We are very much on track,” Trudeau said.
About 2.3 percent of Canada’s population has received at least one dose compared to more than 8.8 percent for the U.S. Most countries around the world have been struggling to vaccinate people quickly. But Canadians are comparing their country to world-leading Israel and the neighboring U.S.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have cut the number of doses Canada expected to get thus far, but Trudeau says he still expects to get 4 million doses from Pfizer and 2 million from Moderna by the end of March.
Trudeau said they are still very much on track based on what the chief executives of the companies keep telling him.
Canada didn’t get any Pfizer doses last week after the company announced a temporary reduction in deliveries so that it could upscale its Puurs, Belgium, plant to handle more production. That plant supplies all Pfizer shots delivered outside the U.S. Moderna has also had trouble scaling up production.
Trudeau reiterated that Canada has signed contracts with seven different vaccine makers and he expects Canada will get more doses per person than any other country in the world. He reiterated that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be by September. Officials says they have agreements to import 10 doses per Canadian. Canada has a population of 37 million.
Canada does not have domestic vaccine production and the government has been getting shipments from Europe instead of the U.S., its closest ally.
Trudeau and President Joe Biden have spoken about Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan plant and Canada’s health regulator has approved that plant to supply the Canadian market, but any vaccines made in America might not be allowed to be exported despite a change in administrations.
The U.S. government has an agreement with Pfizer in which the first 100 million doses of the vaccine produced in the U.S. will be owned by the U.S. government and will be distributed in the U.S. Anita Anand, the Canadian federal procurement minister, has said the doses that are emerging from the Michigan plant are for distribution in the United States.
“We’re focused on ensuring that the American people are vaccinated, that we are getting as many shots in the arms of Americans as possible,” White House Jen Pasaki press secretary said this week. (ABC News)