Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen in the viewfinder of a TV camera as he holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen in the viewfinder of a TV camera as he holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau says government foresaw short-term delays in vaccine deliveries to Canada, planned accordingly

PM says Canada is ‘very much on track’ to receive 6 million doses by end of March, as planned

The prime minister on Friday sought to quell angst over delays in vaccine delivery while British Columbia extended restrictions on gatherings to stem the spread of new, more transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Justin Trudeau said his government knew all along that short-term delays in vaccine shipments would be possible and planned accordingly.

“But I hear it from all Canadians right now: people are worried. People are tired of this pandemic,” he said. “They want to know when this winter’s going to be over. They want to know when they can go back to everything they’ve done before. They want to know mostly when their grandparents are going to be safe, when the vaccines are going to come.

“That’s why there’s a lot of anxiety and a lot of noise going on right now.”

Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, one of two approved in Canada, have slowed as a plant in Belgium is retooled to eventually churn out more doses. Canada is getting about one-fifth of previously planned shipments this week and next.

This week’s shipment of the Moderna vaccine had 50,000 doses less than previously expected due to production delays in Switzerland. The company has signaled the next shipment in three weeks will also not be as big as initially planned.

But Trudeau said Canada is “very much on track” to receive a total of six million doses of vaccine by the end of March, as planned.

He reiterated that all Canadians who want to receive a vaccine will be able to do so by September.

“I speak almost every week with the CEOs of these vaccine companies and they have assured me that they will meet … their contractual obligations,” Trudeau said.

He sidestepped a question on whether vaccine manufacturers would be penalized if they failed to follow through on their commitments.

In B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said a “hard push” is needed now to protect people from the new strains. The province recorded 10 new cases of variants first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Restrictions on gatherings that were to have expired at midnight have been extended indefinitely.

“We need to buy some time to understand if the positive things we are seeing are going to allow us to take away from the restrictions we have in place now,” Henry said. “And we don’t yet know that.”

Alberta, which has a reopening plan tied largely to hospitalization numbers, is set to loosen public health orders for school sports, fitness centres and bars and restaurants on Monday.There were 475 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday and 10 new cases of variants were reported.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusJustin Trudeauvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rendering of the new Nanaimo Correctional Centre. (IBI Group Architects image)
Designs come in for Nanaimo’s new jail

City’s design advisory panel supports height variance at Nanaimo Correctional Centre

The City of Nanaimo is administering a petition-against process to determine if property owners in the downtown core are in favour of establishing a business improvement area. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s downtown property owners to decide if they want new BIA

City council votes to administer petition-against process for business improvement association

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help locate a guitar and travel bag stolen from a vehicle in a downtown hotel parking lot. (Photo submitted)
Gibson guitar, Louis Vuitton bag stolen from vehicle in Nanaimo

Items taken from car in Coast Bastion Hotel parking lot last week

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Nanaimo sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Whispers Adult Superstore overnight Feb. 21

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read