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Canada expecting largest Moderna vaccine shipment yet as PM weighs in on NACI backlash

Last Updated May 4, 2021 at 12:47 pm EDT

In this photo illustration a medical syringe seen in front of the Moderna multinational pharmaceutical corporation logo. Netherlands, November 29, 2020. Photo by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM hoto by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

Canada is expecting one million doses of Moderna's shot on Wednesday

Prime minister, Canada's top doctor stand by messaging that all vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe, effective

NACI facing backlash after comments regarding 'preferred vaccines'

OTTAWA – Canada is fast tracking yet another COVID-19 vaccine shipment, with one million doses of Moderna’s shot expected to arrive on Wednesday as opposed to next week.

This will be the largest shipment of Moderna vaccines to Canada to date.

“By tomorrow morning, a million Moderna doses will be on the ground in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. “Almost all of these doses will arrive in provinces and territories by the end of the week.”

This development means Canada will receive a total of three million shots this week alone, from both Moderna and Pfizer.

“And arrivals of the Pfizer vaccine continue to be on track for two million doses each week in May,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand explained. “That number ramps up to 2.4 million doses each week over five weeks in June.”

After recent delays, Anand says Moderna has been working with the country to “solidify a more regular schedule going forward.”

She continues to urge Canadians to be vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, and is encouraging people to get vaccinated if they can.

News of the Morderna shipment comes amid continued backlash against Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization for its recent advice on vaccines. NACI suggested on Monday that mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, are the “preferred” ones, and that people should get viral vector shots, like the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, if they can’t wait or if they believe the benefits outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots.

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This contradicts months of federal messaging that all approved vaccines are safe and people should be taking the first one they are offered.

Trudeau is echoing this message, saying every vaccine approved by Health Canada is safe and effective in the battle against COVID-19.

“It is a good thing that we get to hear from a broad range of medical experts and doctors making recommendations to keep us safe. The bottom line is: we need to, all of us, get vaccinated as quickly as possible so we can get back to normal,” he explained.

Canada Chief Medical Health Officer Theresa Tam adds “Canadians should feel confident getting vaccinated.”

“This is the key to get us through this pandemic,” she said. “I think that it is hard for people to understand evolving science and evolving data — that’s what’s been so difficult for so many people throughout this pandemic. I think I am very heartened that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is taking the data that we’re gathering in real time into account and evolving advice based on that.

“We all want transparency. We all want that the data is carefully analyzed as we’re going along. That doesn’t make it easy for people to understand, but I think that’s a really important principle,” Tam continued, adding parameters can shift over time, and that Canada relies on NACI and other experts for advice and guidance.

Conservatives are calling for clarity, and doctors and the Canadian Pharmacists Association worry this will only lead to vaccine hesitancy.