On January 25th, documents tabled in the House of Commons from Global Affairs Canada revealed some troubling information.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced at a press conference on May 16, 2020 that his Government had made a deal with China based CanSino Biologics related to developing a COVID vaccine.
The documents produced this week reveal that just three days later, on May 19, 2020, the Trudeau Liberal Government was advised by Global Affairs Canada that “a shipment of Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate seeds destined for Canada was being held by the General Administration of Customs of China at Beijing Capital International Airport”.
In other words, the Chinese State Government was refusing to issue the required approval allowing the export of this vaccine to Canada, effectively blocking the shipment.
While this information was known to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, it was hidden from Canadians and not publicly disclosed until July 6, 2020.
48 days later.
Prime Minister Trudeau did almost daily new conferences throughout June from Rideau Cottage (while the House of Commons was not in session) and not once did the Prime Minister disclose this important information to Canadians.
Despite knowing the China based CanSino vaccine virus was blocked on May 19, 2020, it would not be until the beginning of August that Procurement Minister Anita Anand finally announced a deal with Pfizer for vaccine supply.
By this point countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan had already made agreements with Pfizer for the COVID vaccine.
Why does this matter?
Because this week Canada will receive no Pfizer vaccine at all and over the next four weeks, Canada’s Pfizer vaccine deliveries will be cut in half with up to 400,000 doses delayed.
Here in British Columbia, currently 85% of all received vaccine has now been administered.
As a result of the lack of supply, B.C. must now delay the required second dose to 42 days after the first dose.
For the record, Pfizer indicates the required 2nd dose is to be administered 21 days after the first dose.
In short B.C., much like the rest of Canada is now falling behind other countries.
In fact at the time of this week’s report, in terms of total number of vaccination doses administered, Canada currently ranks in 13th behind such countries as India, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Italy and others.
For some added context, Washington State (population 7.6 million) has now administered 500,000 doses of vaccine and it currently stepping up vaccination rates.
By comparison B.C. (population 5.07 million), at of the time of this report, has administered 122,359 doses.
Unfortunately, with B.C. almost running out of current vaccine supply and with future supply shortages unique to Canada, this problem will only get worse.
Other countries with agreements with Pfizer have not been anywhere near as adversely impacted by this current supply shortage, as compared to Canada.
The Federal Government continues to maintain that Canada has the “most diverse portfolio of any country for vaccines” and that delivery will be on schedule.
My question this week:
Are you satisfied with the performance of the Federal Government in procuring COVID vaccine?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola