Federal government set to release details on vaccine rollout plan

By Michael Ranger

Federal health officials have announced they will hold a briefing on Thursday that will provide specific details on the governments vaccine rollout plan.

The federal conservatives are expected to introduce a motion in the House of Commons the same day that demands the Trudeau government’ disclose information on how they plan to distribute any approved vaccine.

Federal opposition parties have continued to level criticism towards the liberals and Justin Trudeau over the lack of concrete information surrounding the rollout.

The conservatives say that Canadians need more answers and transparency when it comes to a vaccine rollout and have criticized the liberals for being vague when it comes to their own plan.

“We will be asking for timelines for each of the possible vaccines, approval when they’ll be received, what the rate of use is expected,” says conservative leader Erin O’Toole. “We need a timeline.”

O’Toole has also expressed the concern about national freezer capacity and what the plan is for storing the doses Canada receives. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at freezing temperatures and he argues that the companies won’t give it out if it could be spoiled.

On Wednesday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they’ve won permission for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in the U.K. The move allowing Britain to become one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population.

The Trudeau government have promised they plan to have 6 million doses secured by early 2021. But the conservatives argue this puts Canada behind the eight-ball compared to other western countries.

“Next week we are going to see the United States, the E.U. the U.K., they’re going to start vaccinating their population,” says Conservative MP Michael Barrett. “We’re seeing that by the end of the first quarter we are going to have 6 million doses, which is about 3 million vaccinations.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on the federal government to create a crown corporation that would allow for vaccine manufacturing and production domestically.

Meanwhile, O’Toole has not condemned MP Derek Sloan who has sponsored a petition that questions the science of the COVID-19 vaccine. The petition describes the vaccine as human experimentation.

Others parties have criticized Sloan for promoting misinformation surrounding vaccines.

The provinces have also continued place pressure on the federal government.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has continued to push for rollout information while Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he has been given that information from Ottawa.

He says the federal government has assured the first shipment of doses will arrive on Jan. 4. With more waves arriving through the early part of 2021.

“During the first three months of 2021, we anticipate we will be able to administer vaccines to approximately 435,000 Alberta,” says Kenney. “That’s a little more than 10 percent of out population.”

Kenney says he wants 30 percent of Alberta residents immunized in the first half of the year.

Health Canada is currently considering four vaccines for approval, with Johnson & Johnson recently joining the list that includes Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZaneca.

In Britain, rollout of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to begin sometime next week though British politicians have warned that it will take time to get it to most citizens.

The U.K. government says frontline health care workers and nursing home residents will be first in line for the approved vaccine, followed by older adults.


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