Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unrepentant about Canada accessing enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to immunize the entire population a few times over, but says the government will “absolutely” look to share.
“As Canada gets vaccinated, if we have more vaccines than necessary, absolutely we will be sharing with the world,” said Trudeau in an interview with CTV’s Question Period host Evan Solomon.
Canada has signed contracts guaranteeing access to 214 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines with the option to purchase 200 million more, meaning if all trials pan out, we’d have access to 414 million doses. That’s enough to fully vaccinate every person in this country more than a few times over.
The government has been criticized by groups like Amnesty International for stockpiling so many shots, but until now hasn’t been clear on what it would do should several vaccine producers pan out and Canada has access to millions more doses than needed.
Last week, Oxfam Canada issued a report saying that Canada was at the top of the list of wealthy countries that have pre-purchased COVID-19 vaccines, and implored Canada to do its part in ensuring all countries can access vaccines.
The organization warned that nine out of 10 people in poor countries will not be able to be vaccinated in 2021 and that “nearly 70 poor countries will only be able to vaccinate one in ten people against COVID-19 next year unless urgent action is taken by governments and the pharmaceutical industry to make sure enough doses are produced.”
Nicholas Lusiani, a senior advisor at Oxfam America, said inequitable rollout of the vaccine poses serious problems.
“This is not just an issue or moral concern but really an issue of economic concern. The global economy is not going to work if only islands of rich countries are vaccinated,” Lusiani told CTVNews.ca.
Asked to respond to criticisms of vaccine nationalism, Trudeau said he was unrepentant about ordering so many doses.
“My job is to look out for Canadians, and I will not apologize for doing a good job in establishing the right plan to vaccinate the largest number of Canadians as quickly as possible. That’s my job,” Trudeau said.
He pointed to Canada’s involvement in COVAX, a global program that is working towards an equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide.
“Investments early on in vaccine developers helped them move quicker and better, so countries stepping up with millions of dollars to encourage a range of companies to develop these vaccines, is going to leave everyone better,” Trudeau said.
“Because we don’t get through this pandemic anywhere without getting through it everywhere.”
Distribution could also pose a problem in developing countries. For instance, the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at ultra-low temperatures in specialized freezers, typically at hospitals or universities. Advocates fear that, without the proper investments in transportation and infrastructure, some of the world’s poorest communities may be unable to store these vaccines.
Oxfam predicts that widespread vaccination may not be available worldwide until 2023.
The full interview with the prime minister will air on CTV’s Question Period this Sunday at 11 a.m. EST.
With files from CTV’s Omar Sachedina
Ontario reports 3,422 new cases of COVID-19, 69 additional deaths – 680 News
Ontario is reporting 3,422 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with another 69 people having died as a result of the virus.
It’s the third day out of the last four that the provincial case count has surpassed 3,000.
More than half of the new deaths, 36, are attributed to long-term care settings. The total number of people in the province who have died as a result of COVID-19 now sits at 5,409. More than 400 people have passed away since last Sunday from the virus.
Toronto reported 1,035 new cases of the virus – the first time in a week that the number of new cases has topped 1,000. Peel Region reported 585 new infections, while York Region reported 246 additional cases.
Provincial health officials conducted 60,183 tests in the last 24 hours, the first time in three days provincial labs failed to complete more than 70,000 tests. That leaves the backlog of tests to be processed at just over 30,000.
Hospitalizations sit at more than 1,500, however, as is the case on the weekend a number of hospitals have not provided data to provincial officials. There are 395 COVID-19 patients in the ICU with 293 currently on a ventilator.
Ontario administered just over 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, bringing the provincial total to over 200,000.
Potential COVID exposure on two flights – HalifaxToday.ca
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 on two flights from Toronto to Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.
Anyone who was on the following flights in the specified rows and seats is asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.
- Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.). Passengers in rows 22-28 seats C, D, E and F are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 19.
- Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.). Passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 22.
Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so. Please book an appointment online and do not go to a pop-up rapid testing location.
Currently, anyone who traveled outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person returning from non-essential travel outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is unable to isolate alone, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.
When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.
All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus
Ontario wants everyone vaccinated by early August, general says – CBC.ca
Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August, the head of its vaccine distribution plan told CBC News Sunday.
The updated timeline came as the province saw 3,422 new COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths, with Toronto alone recording more than 1,000 new infections.
Retired general Rick Hillier said while accomplishing the summer goal hinges on Ontario getting a steady supply of vaccine, there’s a plan to get them in arms.
“When they come, we’re going to be able to use them all,” Hillier told the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.
“I’d love to see the province of Ontario done by the end of July or early August with all those who want to have a vaccine and who are eligible to receive it. But until we get the vaccine allocation, until we know what’s coming, we just can’t do it.”
WATCH | Hillier’s full interview on Rosemary Barton Live:
Ontario has distributed the most COVID-19 vaccines of any province, but has administered only 72 per cent of the doses it has received. You can get the latest details by using the CBC News vaccine tracker.
For now, a provincewide stay-at-home order remains in place as Ontario tries to limit the spread of the virus.
GTA continues to see bulk of province’s new cases
Toronto reported 1,035 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking another day that the province’s biggest city also had the most infections.
In addition to Toronto’s cases, there were 585 new cases in Peel, 254 in Windsor-Essex, 246 in York and 186 in the Niagara area. The new cases drive the seven-day average, a key figure that reduces noise in the data, to 3,143 new cases per day.
A further 69 more people with the illness died, bringing the province’s official death toll to 5,409.
At least 1,570 people are in hospital, and there are now 293 patients on ventilators. Just over 3,078 cases were marked resolved.
There were 60,183 tests completed, and the province’s positivity rate is now 5.2 per cent.
Ford, Tory touring future mass vaccination site
Ontario has now administered 200,097 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and remains in the first phase of its rollout plan.
Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory toured the city’s first mass vaccination site, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on Sunday.
Mass vaccinations haven’t started yet (long-term care and health-care settings are being prioritized) but the Toronto facility is set to serve as a blueprint for what could be coming to other locations in the coming months. The city provided these details about the mass vaccination site, which it’s calling a “proof-of-concept clinic”:
- Opens Monday, but not to the general public.
- Will start with 250 vaccinations per day.
- Will use the Moderna vaccine.
Tory said he hopes the test site will provide some hope during the grey winter months.
“Vaccination is soon to come and we’re just working away at being ready to do that,” Tory said.
Ford said the province will be ready when it’s time to ramp up vaccinations in April, May and June.
“Our goal is to get as many needles in people’s arms as possible,” he said.
The two leaders didn’t take questions from reporters.
When will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s a look at how the province is prioritizing its rollout plan
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