Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen in the viewfinder of a TV camera as he holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen in the viewfinder of a TV camera as he holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau says government foresaw short-term delays in vaccine deliveries to Canada, planned accordingly

PM says Canada is ‘very much on track’ to receive 6 million doses by end of March, as planned

The prime minister on Friday sought to quell angst over delays in vaccine delivery while British Columbia extended restrictions on gatherings to stem the spread of new, more transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Justin Trudeau said his government knew all along that short-term delays in vaccine shipments would be possible and planned accordingly.

“But I hear it from all Canadians right now: people are worried. People are tired of this pandemic,” he said. “They want to know when this winter’s going to be over. They want to know when they can go back to everything they’ve done before. They want to know mostly when their grandparents are going to be safe, when the vaccines are going to come.

“That’s why there’s a lot of anxiety and a lot of noise going on right now.”

Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, one of two approved in Canada, have slowed as a plant in Belgium is retooled to eventually churn out more doses. Canada is getting about one-fifth of previously planned shipments this week and next.

This week’s shipment of the Moderna vaccine had 50,000 doses less than previously expected due to production delays in Switzerland. The company has signaled the next shipment in three weeks will also not be as big as initially planned.

But Trudeau said Canada is “very much on track” to receive a total of six million doses of vaccine by the end of March, as planned.

He reiterated that all Canadians who want to receive a vaccine will be able to do so by September.

“I speak almost every week with the CEOs of these vaccine companies and they have assured me that they will meet … their contractual obligations,” Trudeau said.

He sidestepped a question on whether vaccine manufacturers would be penalized if they failed to follow through on their commitments.

In B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said a “hard push” is needed now to protect people from the new strains. The province recorded 10 new cases of variants first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Restrictions on gatherings that were to have expired at midnight have been extended indefinitely.

“We need to buy some time to understand if the positive things we are seeing are going to allow us to take away from the restrictions we have in place now,” Henry said. “And we don’t yet know that.”

Alberta, which has a reopening plan tied largely to hospitalization numbers, is set to loosen public health orders for school sports, fitness centres and bars and restaurants on Monday.There were 475 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday and 10 new cases of variants were reported.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusJustin Trudeauvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

The grant is part of the province’s $10-billion COVID-19 response. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Native Development Corporation secures provincial grant funding

To construct a new industrial mechanic shop and training space

Construction on the Beacon Theatre’s facade is expected to start by summer. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake’s Beacon Theatre to get new siding and facade

The grant has also been awarded to the village of Granisle

The village will start working on the design phase for the project. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake’s St. John’s Heritage Church revitalization to begin

A $275,000 provincial grant to help move the project forward

The level of service survey is expected to help formulate the budget and aid in improving the financial planning for 2021-2025. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Village’s level of service survey sees 157 responses

Lack of animal control, cleanliness on Radley beach among top concerns

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read