November 25th, 2020
Liberal failure means Canadians will wait longer for COVID-19 vaccine
VANCOUVER - Yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted publicly that Canadians are behind other nations to get the COVID-19 vaccine saying there is no capacity for domestic production. For months, the government has refused to make their plan for vaccine procurement public and now it's clear they have failed to secure a good deal for Canadians.
"After bragging about how good Canada's system of procurement is, this is a shocking admission that Canadians will have to wait longer than other countries to get their vaccines," said NDP Health Critic, Don Davies. "The Prime Minister announced this troubling news very casually considering people all across the country are making huge sacrifices to keep their neighbours safe and are eagerly awaiting a vaccine. There's absolutely no excuse for Canadians to be in this situation and the Prime Minister has a lot to answer for."
At the end of August, the Prime Minister's Office was promising that the National Research Council's manufacturing facility in Montreal would have capacity to manufacture 250,000 doses of vaccine per month starting in November 2020, increasing to up to two million doses per month by next year but the Prime Minister's comments today raise questions about the government's plans for vaccine distribution.
New Democrats have been asking the government to provide greater transparency about the deals they've signed with big pharma and have repeatedly called for a public drug manufacturer to ensure Canadians have access to a safe, effective vaccine quickly.
"Brazil, Australia, Japan, India and China have all secured the right to produce vaccines domestically through their negotiations with vaccine producers like AstraZeneca. The Canadian government has failed to do this and it's every day people like health care workers, seniors in long term care and essential workers who will pay the price," said Davies. "The Prime Minister can't stand back and act like this is just an unfortunate circumstance that has nothing to do with him. What has his government really been doing to ensure Canadians get the vaccine as soon as possible? People have a right to know if the Prime Minister is getting the best deal possible for them or if he's protecting the interests of big pharmaceutical companies."