By Steve Scherer and Allison Martell OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will succeed in inoculating its population despite “momentary disruptions” in the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and is working closely with the new US administration to combat the disease, it said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Thursday. The liberal Trudeau government is under pressure from the slow rollout of the vaccination program, caused in part by Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 temporarily cutting its promised deliveries and a temporary slowdown in doses from Moderna (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc. “Obviously , with this global supply chain around new products and manufacturing expansions … there are momentary disruptions week after week. But we are still on track to meet commitments and get lots of vaccines to Canadians as quickly as possible “Trudeau said in an interview. Trudeau promised that tens of millions of doses would arrive in the months to come and reiterated that all Canadians seeking vaccines would be vaccinated in September. As part of an attempt to contain the spread of the disease, Canada and the United States have closed their joint border to non-essential travel. Trudeau said he and the new US President Joe Biden agreed on a joint approach to combat COVID-19. “We are working very, very closely on all aspects, from borders to scientific research and indeed vaccines,” he said. “Our talks will continue with the United States on supply chains,” he said, without giving details. Tensions erupted last year between Canada and the administration of then-President Donald Trump over delays in the supply of personal protective equipment. Last year, Trump also signed an executive order aimed at keeping American-produced vaccines in the United States. Trudeau did not provide a direct response when asked if he would pressure Biden to scrap the order. Canada does not yet have its own vaccine manufacturing plant and relies on foreign suppliers. Separately, Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand said deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 Plc could begin before the end of March, if Canada’s health regulator approves its use. AstraZeneca Canada submitted a rolling application for its vaccine with Health Canada in October and is awaiting approval from the drug regulator. Health Canada is expected to complete its review soon. In a separate briefing, federal officials confirmed that the most recent shipment from Canada of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine contained 22% fewer doses than originally expected and said the next shipment, which is expected in three weeks, it will also be short. Fortin added that Moderna was working in “good faith” to deliver those doses as quickly as possible to Canada, noting that the hurdles would be temporary. Meanwhile, shipments of the vaccine from Pfizer Inc are expected to increase later this month. The Trudeau government also faces criticism for leveraging COVAX, a global vaccine exchange initiative aimed at helping low-income countries buy doses. Canada will receive 1.9 million doses of AstraZeneca from the initiative. “Our government will never apologize for doing everything possible to vaccinate Canadians as quickly as possible,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told lawmakers.
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