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Feds secure additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, extend U.S. border restrictions

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 @ 4:29 PM | By Terry Davidson

Ottawa has reached an agreement with drug giant Pfizer to buy an additional 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for Canada and has extended restrictions at the U.S. border to deal with spiking cases of the virus.

On Jan. 12, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that this, plus the approved vaccine from drug maker Moderna, will result in 80 million doses arriving in Canada for 2021.

“We’re on track to have every Canadian who wants a vaccine receive one by September,” said Trudeau. “We’ve let all provinces and territories know exactly how many vaccines they’ll be receiving every week between now and the end of February. This will make sure they have the vaccines and the information they need to keep rolling out doses as quickly, as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.”

Trudeau said his government would “continue to work to get even more vaccines delivered as soon as we can.”

Trudeau went on to say that the “border measures that are currently in place with the United States” will now be extended an additional 30 days, until Feb. 21.

“This is an important decision, and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe,” he said. “Things are really tough right now and we all want this pandemic to be behind us. There have been a lot of things you’ve missed out on or given up. But what will define this pandemic isn’t what we couldn’t do, it’s what we could do and what we did do.”

Trudeau, who has often faced criticism for lacking a specific timeline for vaccine delivery, was asked when the additional Pfizer doses will arrive.

“We’re looking at seeing those doses arrive April, May I believe. … We’re continuing to work with various vaccine companies to accelerate, to move forward, to get more doses for Canadians as quickly as possible. Right now, we’ve been able to give very clear direction and information to the provinces on how many vaccine doses they’ll be receiving every week between now and the end of February, which allows them to plan and manage their rollout processes. But, at the same time, we’re going to continue working to see if we can’t get a few more doses because all Canadians want this to move forward as quickly as possible.”

According to a recently released federal government document, 380,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 168,700 doses of its Moderna counterpart had been distributed to Canada’s provinces as of Jan. 7.

A total of 3,600 doses earmarked for “federal allocation” have gone to recipients such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces and Correctional Service Canada.

Trudeau said they “are working very hard to accelerate the delivery of vaccines and vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.”

“We are very confident in being able to meet the September deadline we’ve laid out in terms of getting everyone who wants a vaccine vaccinated in Canada. But, obviously, if we can do it even quicker than that, that would be great news. The quicker everyone gets vaccinated, the quicker we are going to be able to get back to a semblance of normality.”   

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