Some Maritimers concerned with vaccine rollout, government says it’s on track
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds an empty vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as he visits the Ottawa Hospital where the first vaccine was given in Ottawa, Tuesday December 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
HALIFAX -- The COVID-19 vaccine offered a dose of hope – but like Pfizer's supply, that hope is on hold for some.
Canada will not receive any shipments of that vaccine this week.
"Between now and the middle of February, Canada was scheduled to receive almost one million vaccines," said Conservative leader Erin O'Toole, asking the federal government for answers. "Instead, we will be receiving approximately eight per cent of that."
According to Anita Amand, Canada’s minister of procurement and public services, Canada is scheduled to receive 300,000 doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines next week, and six million by March.
In New Brunswick, the dent in supply is affecting healthcare workers.
"We have to some extent rely on our federal government," said Dorothy Shephard, health minister for New Brunswick. "To get us supplies we need, they need to work with Pfizer. Pfizer has maintained our supplies will be ramped up in the month of March."
The province has fewer than 800,000 people, and more than 14,000 doses have been given out. Twenty-eight hundred people have received both shots, and are fully vaccinated.
"Every province is in the same boat," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health. "Nobody is able to vaccinate as quickly as they would like."
Meantime, Nova Scotia has fewer than a million people. Over 11,000 doses have been given out so far, but fewer than 3,000 are fully vaccinated.
Most people living in Northwood –- the site of the province's deadliest outbreak – received their first dose two weeks ago. Their second has been reserved.
"Having them vaccinated, I can’t tell you how much that means," said Josie Ryan, Northwood’s executive director. "It just gives you a little more breathing room."
As cases climb in New Brunswick, one advocate says that province should have more doses.
"New Brunswick should be reconsidered to make sure we get the vaccine into the arms of the elderly," said Cecile Cassista, a seniors advocate. "Let’s not wait for it to continue to escalate. It’s going to escalate more if we don’t do a preventative measure."
Echoing calls being heard across the country, despite the federal government saying it’s on track to have enough vaccines for everybody who wants one by September.