Remarks updating Canadians on new COVID-19 vaccine authorizations and procurement
I’m happy to be joined here today by Ministers Anand, Hajdu, and LeBlanc, as well as by Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
There’s a lot to cover today, so let’s get right to it.
First of all, I’d like to start with an update on the vaccines. This morning, Health Canada authorized the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
This is very good news.
I want to take this opportunity to point out that Canada has an independent review process that is internationally recognized.
When a vaccine is approved by Health Canada, it means that the best experts have concluded that it is effective and safe.
This morning, Health Canada authorized the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
This is a single-dose vaccine.
It can be stored and transported at regular refrigerated temperatures, from 2˚ to 8˚ Celsius, which makes it easier to distribute across the country. As with all of the other vaccines we have secured, we’re working to get doses to Canadians as quickly as possible.
Canada has an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 10 million doses of this Janssen vaccine between now and September.
This morning, I spoke with Jorge Bartolome, the President of Janssen Canada. He told me that they are committed to getting the full order of doses to Canada, and they’re working on setting up global supply chains as quickly as possible.
There are now 4 safe and effective vaccines approved by independent regulators in Canada. We have agreements with all 4 companies making these doses, and we also have agreements with 3 additional companies for their potential vaccines.
Today, we also have some great news to share about Pfizer vaccine shipments. Pfizer has informed us that we are able to move up the delivery of 3.5 million doses from the summer into the next couple of months.
Pfizer will be delivering an additional 1.5 million doses to Canada this March, moving deliveries ahead of schedule. We’ll also be getting another million doses ahead of schedule in both April and May.
For months, we’ve been committing to you that we’ll get 6 million doses total of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of March. Well, because of the hard work of Minister Anand and the whole team, with these accelerated Pfizer deliveries, we’ll now be getting 8 million doses by the end of March.
In total, we can now expect 12.8 million doses from April to June from Pfizer alone.
This week, Canada received a total of nearly one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Next week, another approximately one million doses will arrive.
Today, I can announce that Pfizer is moving the delivery of 3.5 million doses that were scheduled for the summer ahead of schedule.
What that means is that in March, we will receive an additional 1.5 million doses. And we're also going to receive an additional 1 million doses per month, ahead of schedule, in April and May.
For months, we've been telling you that Canada is going to receive a total of 6 million doses by the end of March. Well, Minister Anand is continuing to work very hard with the whole team, and we are now going to get to 8 million doses by the end of March.
From Pfizer alone, we now expect to receive 12.8 million doses from April to June.
Every day, across the country, more and more grandparents are calling their grandchildren to tell them how happy they are to be vaccinated.
To health care workers involved in the vaccination efforts:
you’ve been rolling up your sleeves to fight the pandemic for a year, and now you’re helping Canadians roll up their sleeves to end the pandemic.
I want to say thank you.
There are millions of doses coming, so let’s continue to work together to vaccinate Canadians as quickly as possible.
As long as it takes, we’ll be there with what people need to get through the pandemic.
That means we’re sending more and more vaccines to the provinces and territories in the coming weeks and months.
And it also means we’re continuing to support everyone — from families and small businesses — to scientists and research staff.
This week, we took another step forward for Canadian research with an investment of $518 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
More than ever, this past year has shown just how essential it is to continue supporting science and innovation here in Canada.
In May, we made an investment to provide salary support for research staff in universities and health research institutions.
These employees were not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and it was important for us to help them.
This investment was also intended to support research projects by helping to cover the additional costs generated by COVID-19.
Today, I can share with you that these measures have helped to keep nearly 32,000 people employed in our universities and health research institutes.
In addition, approximately 22,000 research projects have received assistance through this program, whether to maintain their critical activities during the pandemic, or to accelerate the pace and catch up on lost time when things reopen.
From the fight against cancer to the fight against climate change, the work our scientists do is essential.
They help improve the lives of Canadians and grow our economy.
Our government will always be there to support science and the scientific community.
Speaking of building a better, stronger future for everyone, I also want to talk about what we’re doing to modernize public transit.
No one likes to be stuck in traffic.
Better public transit connects communities and helps people get around in faster, cleaner, and cheaper ways.
Yesterday, Minister McKenna and Minister Champagne announced that we are investing $2.75 billion for zero-emission buses, charging infrastructure and other electrification projects across the country.
This is part of the unprecedented commitment we made last month, of almost $15 billion for new public transit projects over the next 8 years.
Not only will investments like this help us exceed our 2030 target, not only will this put us squarely on a path to net-zero by 2050, but these investments will also help create good jobs and grow the economy.
Yesterday, I took a virtual tour of the Nova Bus plant in Saint-Eustache which manufactures zero-emission buses.
Their long-range battery-electric buses can travel up to 470 km on a single charge.
Recently, the city of Vancouver's transit system selected them to add 15 zero-emission buses to their fleet.
The purchase of these buses was made possible with the direct support of the federal government.
This is a good example of how working together from coast to coast to coast, we can make our transit systems cleaner, more efficient and more modern.
Within 5 years, our government is committed to putting 5,000 zero-emission buses on the road to move Canadians.
Investing in transit and infrastructure means clean air for our cities and good-paying, middle class jobs for Canadians.
We not only have the manufacturing capacity here at home, but we have the materials used in today’s battery technology, whether it’s aluminum in Quebec, or nickel in Ontario.
When we build a sustainable future while growing the economy, everybody wins.
There’s still a lot of work to do to fight climate change and build a green economy that works for everyone, so we will continue to take real action – for our workers and for our kids.
Finally, I want to recognize that it’s been almost a year now since COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic.
At times, I know it feels like just yesterday, although most of the time it probably feels like a lifetime ago.
This last year hasn’t been easy, but we are going to get through this.
This week alone, almost 400,000 Canadians got a COVID-19 shot.
Next week, it will be the turn of hundreds of thousands more.
To the people watching at home right now who are looking forward to getting their shot, your turn is coming.
Millions of doses are on the way.
Deliveries have been ramping up and they’ll ramp up even more in April.
We will continue to work around the clock to make sure Canadians get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Thank you very much.