Remarks updating Canadians on the latest developments on COVID-19 vaccines
I’m very pleased to be here this morning along with Minister Anand, Major-General Fortin, Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
Before I get started, I want to address the news we got last night that Master Sailor Duane Earle of the HMCS Winnipeg is believed to have gone overboard in the Pacific.
As Minster Sajjan has said, we are dedicating every resource to the search.
To Master Sailor Earle’s family and loved ones, we’re keeping you in our thoughts during this incredibly difficult time.
And to everyone aboard HMCS Winnipeg, we are standing with you.
I know that this has already been a very challenging year for those serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.
This morning, I just came from visiting the Ottawa Hospital.
I also spoke to nurses, doctors, and staff about delivering vaccine doses.
I also thanked them for their outstanding work, day in and day out, throughout the months of this pandemic, for everything they’re doing to keep us and our loved ones safe.
It was a great pleasure for me to go to the Ottawa Hospital this morning, where I met with frontline workers to thank them in person for the unbelievable work they are doing.
We are at the beginning of the end with the arrival of vaccine doses, but there is still a lot of work to be done to keep Canadians safe in the coming months and I know that they will be there for us.
On Sunday night, the very first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Canada.
Less than 24 hours later, vaccinations had already started for the most vulnerable and for frontline workers.
This morning, I have even more good news to share.
I can announce that Canada has secured our second agreement for early doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Canada is now contracted to receive up to 168,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before the end of December, pending Health Canada approval.
These doses are part of the guaranteed 40 million doses we have secured from Moderna, and deliveries could begin within 48 hours of regulatory approval.
Like the co-founder of Moderna pointed out a few weeks ago, Canada was among the very first to pre-order their vaccine.
That, combined with our solid plan for vaccine rollout, is why we have an agreement for early doses.
As with the early shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, this moves us even further forward on getting Canadians protected as quickly as possible.
The regulatory process for the Moderna vaccine is ongoing, but again, I want to assure Canadians that any vaccine approved in Canada will be both safe and effective.
I’m pleased to announce today that Canada has secured our second agreement for early doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Once it is approved by Health Canada, the agreement stipulates the delivery of 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine before the end of December.
These are part of the agreement for 40 million doses that we have with Moderna.
Deliveries could begin within 48 hours of regulatory approval.
As was the case for the Pfizer vaccine deliveries that began earlier, this news means that we can move forward even faster in protecting Canadians.
The approval process is still under way for the Moderna vaccine.
Once again, I would like to assure Canadians that any vaccine approved in Canada is both safe and effective.
No one, and no community, will be left behind.
We have a plan to reach everyone who wants a vaccine, no matter where they live.
Of course, shipping in the winter – especially to the far North – isn’t without its challenges.
The Moderna vaccine does not need some of the extra special handling requirements of the one from Pfizer, including ultra-cold freezers.
And that makes it a better option to ship over long distances to more remote areas.
So, doses of this vaccine will be directed to the North, as well as to remote, and Indigenous communities.
The Territories are scheduled to receive doses of the Moderna vaccine in the coming weeks, pending Health Canada approval.
We are working to ensure the logistics planning is ready when vaccines are available, and have already shipped medical-grade freezers to the North.
As soon as we get the green light, we’ll be ready to go.
On Pfizer, I also have an update to share.
We’ve now confirmed that next week we will receive about 200,000 of our total early order of doses from Pfizer.
As well, we will have 70 sites ready to administer these doses, up from 14 sites this week.
On Pfizer, I also have other news to share.
We have now confirmed that next week, we will receive about 200,000 of our total early order of doses from Pfizer.
In addition, we will have 70 sites ready to administer these doses, or 56 more than this week.
Canada now has agreements to receive up to 417,000 doses by January 1.
I would like to thank Minister Anand for his unbelievable leadership on this issue, but I’d also like to highlight the remarkable work that Major-General Fortin, his team and all the employees at the Public Health Agency are doing to ensure the rollout of vaccines.
This is a pan-Canadian effort.
Our government will continue working with the provinces and territories, through the National Operations Centre, to ensure that the doses are distributed to Canadians as quickly as possible.
As I announced at the First Ministers’ meeting last week, the federal government will cover 100% of the cost of vaccines and the supplies necessary to administer them.
The doses will be free for Canadians.
And the provinces and territories will not have to dip into their budgets to pay for them either.
In addition to vaccines, we’re also continuing to invest in treatments for COVID-19.
Today, I can announce that we are providing up to $6.7 million for the Canadian company Arch Biopartners, to support the development of their leading drug candidate to treat severe COVID-19 cases.
This new funding was provided on the advice of Canada’s leading experts in the field who are serving on our COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force.
Progress on made-in-Canada treatments, a second agreement for early delivery of vaccine doses, the most vulnerable already starting to receive these life-saving shots – this is the good news we all needed.
This pandemic will end.
We will get through this.
But for now, we need to be incredibly careful.
Keep each other safe.
Keep your grandparents safe.
Keep our doctors and nurses safe. Do the things you know that are going to help us get through this long winter.
Vaccines are coming.
Vaccines are already here, but we need to make it through this winter in the best possible situation without seeing more tragedies, without seeing more losses, that means we all have to do our part
Our first vaccines are arriving.
It is not a time for holiday gatherings.
We have to be very cautious and continue our efforts.
Keep your distance.
Wear a mask.
Use the COVID Alert app.
Wash your hands.
Continue to do everything that needs to be done to protect one another.
2020 was a long year, but we will be able to celebrate in 2021 when this pandemic will be over.
We can see the end is near with the vaccines.
But between now and then we must remain cautious. We have to do everything possible to protect our loved ones.
Job one for our government is protecting Canadians.
That’s why we’ve been working around the clock on procuring everything from PPE to rapid tests to safe, effective vaccines.
But let’s remember: this is a global pandemic.
To end COVID-19 anywhere, we have to end it everywhere.
To quickly get rid of COVID-19, people everywhere must have access to vaccines as soon as possible.
Again yesterday, Ministers Gould and Anand announced that Canada was going to invest an additional $485 million in global cooperation to step up access to tools to fight COVID-19.
This investment will provide treatment and vaccines, as well as health care resources to developing countries.
In addition, to continue protecting the health of the most vulnerable, Minister Gould announced that Canada will also be providing funding to help various nutrition and food security programs. The fight against COVID-19 is a joint effort.
We must work together to defeat this virus and build a stronger, healthier future for everyone.
Finally, I want to end this morning by recognizing that today marks the 5th anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report.
The Residential School system was one of the darkest chapters in our history, and has left a tragic legacy that continues to this day.
To the survivors, family members, and all those who shared their truth – your courage and strength is remarkable.
I also want to recognize the leadership of Senator Murray Sinclair, who is retiring from the Senate in January.
His work as the chief commissioner changed Canada for the better.
Senator Sinclair – like so many others who were part of the Commission – showed us the path forward.
And it’s up to us to walk the path of reconciliation.
Together with survivors and communities, we have made important progress on the Commission’s Calls to Action.
80% of the Calls that are the sole or shared responsibility of the federal government are now completed or well underway.
In the last few weeks alone, we invested half a billion dollars to support Indigenous communities in exercising their jurisdiction over Child and Family Services.
We introduced legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Our government will continue to work in partnership on everything from closing gaps in infrastructure to ending inequalities in the criminal justice system.
We have moved forward, but we’re not done yet.
The national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls must finally end.
Over the last 5 years, we have worked with partners and communities to put a stop to violence against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
Today, Minister Bennet highlighted the investments that will help us to continue moving forward, namely the establishment of new shelters and a global violence prevention strategy.
Our government will continue to be a partner in the efforts made to reach reconciliation and build a better future for all.