Despite delays and reductions, Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan ‘on track’
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“They have assured me that they will meet their obligations, their contractual obligations to deliver six million doses to Canadians by the end of March.”
This week news emerged that the Liberals would be taking doses from COVAX, an international organization designed to pool purchases of vaccines and direct many to the developing world. Canada is entitled under the program’s design to take the vaccines, but is one of the few wealthy countries to do so.
Trudeau said the government gave $440 million to the program with half designated to buy doses for Canadians.
“In other words, our contribution was always intended to access vaccine doses for Canadians, as well as to support lower-income countries.”
He said Canada would receive at least 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through COVAX. He also said that would come on top of the 20 million doses Canada ordered from the company directly.
Trudeau said those doses would be delivered before June, but procurement department officials later clarified those doses would be spread across the second and third quarter of this year, arriving as late as September.
Every cancelled delivery of vaccines, every delay of vaccines, means Canada has to wait longer to turn the corner in this pandemic
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said it is past time for the government to be more transparent about vaccine efforts.
“The Liberals need to be honest with Canadians on what they’re doing to secure the vital tools needed today to fight COVID-19 and secure our future,” he said.
O’Toole said Trudeau may be focused on the quarterly targets, but the delays week by week lead up to real tragedies for Canadians.
“Every cancelled delivery of vaccines, every delay of vaccines, means Canada has to wait longer to turn the corner in this pandemic. It’s another day that businesses are forced to stay shuttered and families are forced to be apart.”