Delay likely for Canada's COVID-19 vaccine without domestic production, Trudeau says

Provided by The Canadian Press

Bernstein said a hollowing out of the pharmaceutical industry, combined with government complacency about Canada's ability to buy vaccines offshore, left the country with little manufacturing capacity.

As first reported by CTV News ahead of Trudeau's Rideau Cottage address on Friday, Fortin will be in charge of overseeing what is set to be a massive logistics-heavy operation of delivering the vaccine.

NDP health critic Don Davies was equally exasperated when he got no answer to when provinces are being asked to have their vaccine administration plans ready, or why Australia has a fully laid out vaccine rollout plan and Canada does not. The harrowing reports the soldiers produced after working in those homes caused the federal government to draft new directives on seniors' care.

Sharma said that it can normally take up to a year for Health Canada to review a vaccine and grant its approval.

Bernstein said Canada's vaccine production facilities have been on the decline for decades, as companies moved to other countries seeking higher prices.

The Canadian Armed Forces has quietly been working with the Public Health Agency of Canada for some to co-ordinate vaccine distribution, the Department of National Defence confirmed to the Star on Thursday. The military also will help Ottawa get shots to some Indigenous and rural communities where health care services are limited at the best of times.

Canada's opposition parties have grilled Trudeau over the later timeframe.

As many as 20 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated in December, with 30 million more Americans being vaccinated in every subsequent month.

"I can understand the eagerness with which people want to know when this will be over, when we're going to get vaccines. So the things we're doing that are keeping us safe now are going to be very important for the next year probably longer".

Health Canada is expected to give approvals to the Pfizer product at roughly the same time the United States does.

Sharma said her department has been reviewing clinical trial data on a rolling basis since October 9.

It has also been in talks with other countries to ensure equal access to vaccines for all, Trudeau added, with the expectation that the first doses will start to arrive in Canada in the early months of 2021.

Asked whether any Canadians could receive a shot before the end of the year, Sharma said several things are happening at the same time - regulatory reviews, manufacturing, distribution - which makes it hard to pinpoint dates. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be at -75°C.

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