Many Canadian provincial governments to start Covid-19 vaccination programs in 7 weeks time
Prince Edward Island's (PEI) health minister says the province can expect 26,000 to 30,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine to arrive in less than two months.
The comment was made in the legislature after the Liberals continued to press Health Minister James Aylward on the government's ability to deliver on a vaccine rollout. He said he spoke with Chief Public Health Officer Dr Heather Morrison on Thursday, reports CBC.
"And right now, what we're looking at is probably somewhere between 26,000 to 30,000 doses coming in, in early January," James said.
"We'll roll those out as quickly as possible … it takes work. There's a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure we have a good program in place," he added.
He said the province's immunization working group is working to identify the most vulnerable populations, like seniors or the Indigenous population, that should be prioritized when vaccine doses arrive.
On November 16, US biotech firm Moderna announced its vaccine appears to be almost 95% effective, according to preliminary data from the company's ongoing study, while Pfizer Inc shared a similar update to its study last week. Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province expects to receive a combined 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines during the first three months of 2021.
Further testing results released by Pfizer on November 18 suggest its vaccine is 95% effective, is safe and also protects older people most at risk of dying.
James said PEI is working in partnership with the federal government and other provinces, but Liberal MLA Heath MacDonald questioned how PEI would get its fair share of vaccine doses when cases on the Island have been so low.
Earlier, Alberta, a province in Western Canada said it was expecting to receive around 680,000 doses early in the new year. Quebec has also said it expects to begin vaccinations in early 2021, prioritizing the most at risk.
"There has been a lot of talk in the media the last while about some of the provinces that have come out and arbitrarily stated the number of doses they're getting," James told the legislature minutes after revealing PEI's numbers.
"It's unfortunate that they did that, because now the federal government who is leading this project is now saying, 'No, you can't be quoting that' … We believe in co-operation; we believe in partnership. That's the approach that we're taking."
James said vaccine doses will be rolled out in stages.
On Saturday, four provinces reported single-day highs for new Covid-19 infections as public health officials and the prime minister urge Canadians to stay home to get spiralling numbers under control.