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Trudeau disappointed COVID-19 vaccines in freezers rather than being administered

Last Updated Jan 5, 2021 at 10:59 am PST

FILE -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin says he's disappointed COVID-19 shots aren't getting to Canadians faster

Trudeau says he will be bringing up the pace of the vaccine rollout with premiers this week

The prime minister assures vaccine COVID-19 vaccines aren't going to waste

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — COVID-19 vaccines sitting in freezers instead of being administered to patients isn’t sitting well with the prime minister.

Speaking Tuesday, Justin Trudeau said he’s disappointed the shots aren’t being distributed to Canadians at a faster pace.

“We’ve been able to ramp up over the past number of weeks in terms of vaccine delivery, but now is the time with the new year upon us to really accelerate, and that’s certainly what I’ll be talking with the premiers about,” he said.

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He’ll be meeting with premiers Thursday.

Trudeau noted the early doses of vaccine arriving in December allowed for the process to be expedited, to an extent, despite setbacks.

“We are confident and very hopeful that over the coming weeks the challenges will be overcome,” he said, adding work continues to get the vaccine to the most vulnerable as soon as possible.

He also shut down concerns about vaccines going to waste, saying there are “extremely strong measures in place to ensure that the vaccines are properly supported, properly stored.”

Trudeau assures the federal government has been planning the vaccine rollout since May.

The same day the prime minister also said anyone who has travelled for non-essential reasons and has to quarantine, will not be able to access the federal sick leave benefit.

RELATED: Data suggests Canada is rolling out COVID-19 vaccines at a slower rate than peers

Meanwhile, data compiled by the COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group reveals Canada is administering vaccines at a slower pace than some of its peer countries.

Ontario has administered the most total doses of any province — nearly 42,000 — but that’s the fewest per capita. The province’s top doctor says that is an undercount because it doesn’t include injections of the Moderna vaccine.

On Monday, B.C. announced it plans to have about 150,000 British Columbians immunized by February, starting with those who need protection the most before moving to a wider distribution.

As of Sunday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 24,139 British Columbians had received COVID-19 vaccines.

-with files from Mike Lloyd