Canada is receiving a shipment of one million Moderna vaccine doses a week earlier than expected.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at his regular COVID-19 update, saying the shipment is getting picked up in Europe on Tuesday night.
He says the doses will arrive on Canadian soil by Wednesday morning. It will be the largest Moderna shipment to date.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Moderna is continuing to work with the federal government to come up with a more predictable delivery schedule.
Trudeau confirmed Canada will continue receiving two million doses from Pfizer each week in May. The country is on track to receive two million doses each week in the month of May and 2.4 million a week in June.
Asked about a possible vaccine passport for international travel, the Prime Minister said now is not the time to travel. However he says when the situation improves in Canada his government is working with allies to establish a system for proof of vaccination.
Trudeau mentioned the work is mainly with allies in Europe, saying he can’t speak for the U.S. on what requirements they will have when more normal international travel resumes
The Prime Minister also challenged people who are gathering to protest COVID-19 public health measures. He says the protests are making the problem worse, arguing the demonstrations only spread the virus further and prolong the measures that are being protested.
Meanwhile, there continues to be backlash against the most recent comments from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
Trudeau reiterated that every vaccine being offered is safe and works in the battle against COVID-19.
“We need to get our shots as quickly as possible,” says Trudeau. “I can reinforce once again that every single vaccine available in Canada has been approved by Health Canada as being safe and effective.”
NACI said Monday that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are “preferred” and that Canadians should weigh the risks of waiting for one of them before deciding whether to take a more immediate jab of either of the other two approved for use in Canada.
The panel’s advice contradicts Health Canada’s long-standing recommendation that the best vaccine is the first one available.
Conservatives are calling for clarity, and doctors and the Canadian Pharmacists Association worry the contradicting advice will only lead to more vaccine hesitancy.
With files from the Canadian Press.