Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fingers crossed after receiving his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press via AP)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday Canada had an agreement with Pfizer for 35 million booster vaccinations in the next year and 30 million in 2023 in case the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines deteriorates over time and needs reinforcement.
He said the country of 38 million people also had options for another ten million in the coming years if they were needed. He said the government is talking to other vaccine manufacturers about their plans for booster vaccinations.
The vaccines are so new that experts still don’t have precise data on how long their protection will last or whether they will be affected by emerging variants of the virus.
So far, Pfizer’s ongoing study shows that the company’s two-dose vaccine remains highly effective for at least six months and likely longer. People who received Moderna’s vaccine still had remarkable levels of virus-fighting antibodies six months after the second required shot.
“Canadians expect us to be prepared for whatever happens. There is certainly hope that booster shots will not be required, but we can much better ensure that we are prepared in case it does.” said Trudeau at the press conference in Ottawa.
Trudeau made the announcement just before he and his wife Sophie were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which some people were reluctant to receive due to reports of rare blood clots.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will receive his first COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press via AP)
The Province of Ontario recently removed AstraZeneca eligibility for people 40 years and older.
The Prime Minister says 30% of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one vaccine. It is expected that all eligible Canadians will be able to receive at least one dose by the end of June.
Vaccinations have increased in Canada, but health experts say more contagious varieties and errors in the most populous province of Ontario contributed to a third wave of infections. Ontario reported more than 4,500 new cases on Friday.
Canada banned all flights from India and Pakistan on Thursday after it said half of the people who tested positive for the new coronavirus after arriving in Canada by plane were from that region. India set a world record for daily infections at 332,730 for a second straight day.
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau watches Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cross fingers after receiving his first COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press via AP)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will receive his first COVID vaccination in Ottawa on Friday April 23, 2021. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press via AP)
The Pacific Coast Province of British Columbia, meanwhile, restricted unnecessary travel between three regional health districts to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Attorney General Mike Farnworth, who is also the public safety minister, said the ordinance bans recreational travel between districts but allows travel for essential reasons such as school, work, healthcare or commercial transportation.
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