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

good lookin
West Kootenay pet shop owner petitions for end to pet mills

“Our companion animal laws are pretty lax right now, we need to bring more awareness to help SPCA”

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read