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'Incredibly serious situation': COVID-19 in Canada has taken turn for the worse in third wave, Trudeau warns

Elisabetta Bianchini
·3-min read

Prime Minister Trudeau stressed to Canadians on Friday that Canada is facing "an incredibly serious situation" in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. He called out Toronto, in particular, which is seeing record-breaking COVID-19 cases and shrinking ICU capacity.

"There’s no doubt that Canada’s largest city is struggling under the weight of this third wave so we are going to do whatever it takes to help," the prime minister said.

Trudeau added that for Ontario, the federal government is "standing by" to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help mobile vaccination teams.

"This is about getting doses to people where the situation is most serious," he said.

The prime minister also said he recently spoke to the mayors of Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and Markham about working together and possible federal government support.

"To all Canadians,...I know you’re all sick and tired of COVID-19, I know nobody wants to be in this third wave, nobody wants to be facing further restrictions, we just want to be done with this," Trudeau said.

"I got in an argument with my 13-year-old this morning who doesn't want to do this...but we know that if we hang in there, hunker down and follow the rules for the coming weeks, as much as we’re tired of them, as much as we’re frustrated, we have a chance of getting to the summer in much better shape."

On Friday, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) called on the federal government to change the prioritization of vaccine distribution based on areas with the most urgent need, versus a per-capita allocation.

Trudeau did not indicate that any changes to the existing model for vaccine allocations are in discussions.

"Happy to continue to work with the provinces on adjusting, as the provinces see necessary," the prime minister said.

Pfizer stock surging, Moderna to be cut

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Canada has signed an agreement to receive eight million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Canada will receive four million additional doses, scheduled to arrive in May, another two million doses in June and July, respectively. In total, eight million doses will arrive in Canada in May and 12 million doses will arrive in June.

"More doses arriving sooner means more people getting their vaccines faster," Trudeau said at a press conference on Friday.

While there seems to be good news on the Pfizer front, Anita Anand, Minister of Public services and Procurement, said Canada's next shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses is being impacted by "ongoing challenges with ramping up production to meet intense global demand, due to labour shortage and other issues."

"As a result, our next shipment will be smaller than expected and we may see additional delays over the coming months as Moderna’s production capacity continue to increase," Ananda said. "This news is obviously very disappointing."

"Despite the temporary and short-term fluctuations in deliveries from our suppliers, Canada’s vaccination campaign overall is gaining ground."

Anand also confirmed Canada is expected to receive an initial shipment of about 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine during the week of April 27, which will be delivered to provinces in the beginning of May. Canada will also receive 4.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from all sources by the end of June.