Trudeau cautions against ‘preliminary’ coronavirus vaccine talk

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canadians on Thursday that despite this week’s promising coronavirus vaccine developments, the country is “still facing many more months” of social distancing and wearing masks.

He said there are preliminary discussions around Canada’s vaccine roll-out plan, but because there are still many unknowns, the federal government will not “confirm” any plans until there is more certainty.

Trudeau’s response comes after Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Wednesday that the province is expecting to get around 1.6 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and around 800,000 of Moderna’s for proper distribution by March 2021.

“There are many numbers circulating amongst health officials as to what the possible delivery of vaccines can be. But we are not going to confirm these plans until we have much more certainty around them,” Trudeau said.

“The reality is we are still facing many more months of having to do the right things, having to reduce our contacts, having to wear masks … yes vaccines are coming and yes Canada will be ready and have the right plan to make sure they are getting these out across the country. And those discussions are very much ongoing with provinces and partners. But right now it’s too preliminary to make firm announcements.”

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Trudeau was asked directly whether Elliott’s coronavirus vaccine numbers were wrong, but he sidestepped mentioning the Ontario minister in his response.

Canada has signed a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of its vaccine and 56 million doses from Moderna. Both vaccines have yet to be approved by Health Canada.

This week, Pfizer and Moderna released promising results about their coronavirus vaccines.

Pfizer said its Phase 3 trial results were found to be 95 per cent effective and the company plans to seek emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators in the coming days.

Moderna also released preliminary data of its Phase 3 trials, showing a 94.5 per cent effective rate.

Both vaccines require two doses.

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