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Trudeau gov't faces criticism after news Canada will accept vaccines from COVAX

Last Updated Feb 4, 2021 at 7:58 am PST

FILE - A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Summary

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is criticizing the federal government over its COVID-19 vaccine plans

Criticisms are growing with further delays in vaccine deliveries to Canada

Feds criticized by Conservatives, others after news Canada plans to accept up to 1.1-million doses from COVAX

OTTAWA – The federal Conservatives are slamming the Trudeau government following more concerns and criticisms around Canada’s vaccine supply.

As shipment delays grow, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is taking aim at the federal government.

“Much of this uncertainty is due to the failure to plan by the Liberal government,” he said, Thursday.

Pfizer delays have already been causing major disruptions in Canada’s vaccine rollout, and now, it is Moderna. The company has already said Canada’s shipment this week could be reduced by up to 25 per cent, and now the shipment at the end of the month is also being cut — but it’s unclear by how much.

The Tory leader criticized at the government’s recent announcement about domestic production of vaccines, saying the plan came too late.

“Let’s be clear: delays in vaccines means delays in reopening and rebuilding our economy. Vaccine protectionism should have surprised no one,” O’Toole said.

“Last April, Minister (Chrystia) Freeland was calling PPE procurement worldwide the ‘Wild West.’ Airplanes full of masks and ventilators were being redirected off tarmacs to the highest bidder. It’s incredible to think that the Liberal government didn’t learn from that experience and didn’t plan to ensure that Canada would not end up empty handed when it came to vaccines. But here we are,” he added.

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O’Toole joined others in criticizing the federal government for planning to accept up to 1.1-million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, pending approval, through the COVAX initiative.

Countries that bought in to the initiative would help provide doses to under-developed nations, while also procuring some for themselves. However, Canada is the only G7 nation taking its doses in the first round.

O’Toole reiterated his assertion that this is an example of the federal government’s lack of a plan around vaccines, however, he refused to say whether he would accept the COVAX doses if he were prime minister.

The COVAX Facility, co-ordinated by the World Health Organization and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, pools funds from wealthier countries to buy vaccines for themselves and for 92 low- and middle-income nations that can’t afford to buy on their own.