Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada secures 20M more Pfizer vaccine doses; U.S. border closure extended to Feb. 21

Extra doses will come this spring starting in April

Canada has secured an additional 20 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Trudeau said Tuesday (Jan. 12) morning, while also announcing that the U.S.–Canada border would remain closed till Feb. 21.

Canada had already secured 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two shots.

Speaking in front of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, the prime minister said today’s announcement means Canada will get 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year – enough to vaccinate its population of 38 million – in a combination of Moderna and Pfizer shots, including enough doses to vaccinate up 20 million Canadians by June.

Trudeau said that the federal government is still expecting to receive enough doses of both vaccines to fully vaccinate three million people by the end of March. As of Jan. 7, there have been 548,950 doses of both vaccines distributed to provinces and territories. B.C. has received 71,200 doses and health officials have said 60,000 have been administered as of Sunday night.

The prime minister reaffirmed his promise that every Canadian who wants a COVID vaccine will be able get one by September.

At a later press conference, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the additional 20 million doses are scheduled to come between April and the end June.

“We are exercising 20 million option to give us 40 million doses [total]… we still have the ability to exercise 36 million more doses if we want,” Anand said, noting that Canada can also go back to Moderna to get more doses of its vaccine.

She said that her office opted for extra Pfizer doses instead of Moderna doses because the former company agreed to deliver them between April and September.

But even though vaccines are rolling out, chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam urged Canadians to keep up safety measures.

“Nationally we are on an ever-worsening trajectory,” Tam said, noting that the next months would be “possibly harder than we have experienced before.”

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines remain the only two approved for COVID in Canada; Tam said that Health Canada is still reviewing the viral vector AstraZeneca vaccine.

READ MORE: COVID death toll in B.C. tops 1,000 as 1,475 new cases recorded over the weekend


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