Canada could start Covid-19 vaccine plan next week: PM

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the country could roll out its coronavirus vaccine plan as early as next week, with the arrival of the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.

Before 2020 ends, Canada will receive an initial batch of up to 249,000 doses, Xinhua news agency quoted Trudeau as saying on Parliament Hill on Monday.

“This will move us forward on our whole timeline of vaccine rollout,” he said.

Health Canada is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine this week.

“We will be able to begin on the most vulnerable populations and make sure that we have the logistical grounding foundation in place to be able to deliver right across the country over the first months of 2021,” Trudeau said.

As the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at ultra-cold temperatures, to ensure vaccine safety, batches will be delivered to 14 urban centres across Canada, with systems for delivery and storage currently under test.

While the vaccine news provides hope, Trudeau urged Canadians to continue to wear masks, wash hands, keep social distancing and avoid gatherings.

Trudeau’s announcement came as the numbers of both new Covid-19 cases and deaths are rising across the country amid the raging second wave of the pandemic.

On Monday, Canada reported 6,499 new cases and 84 fatalities, which increased the overall infection tally and death toll to 423,054 and 12,777, respectively.