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Federal Conservatives to introduce motion demanding COVID-19 vaccine rollout details

Last Updated Dec 3, 2020 at 8:13 am PST

Parliament Hill is shown in Ottawa on March 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

Conservatives to introduce motion demanding more specific details on COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

Federal government set to release more information about its plan to get Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19

The federal Conservatives are expected to introduce a motion in the House of Commons on Thursday that demands the Trudeau government disclose more specific details on its vaccine rollout plan.

Federal opposition parties have continued to level criticism towards Justin Trudeau and his Liberals over vaccine distribution.

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.”

The federal government is set to release more information on Thursday about its plan, with officials saying the briefing will provide an overview on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

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

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On Wednesday, the U.K. approved Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The move will make Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population.

The Trudeau government has promised it plans to have six-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 six million doses, which is about three 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.

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.