Major General Dany Fortin responds to a question on COVID vaccines during a news conference, Thursday, January 14, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Major General Dany Fortin responds to a question on COVID vaccines during a news conference, Thursday, January 14, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

U.S. working on plan to lend doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada

Canada is in the process of finalizing an exchange agreement to receive 1.5 million doses from the U.S.

Canada’s procurement minister says a deal is close to receive Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the U.S., while the military commander in charge of the rollout here says all adults who wish could be able to get their first shot by July 1.

“After numerous discussions with the Biden administration, Canada is in the process of finalizing an exchange agreement to receive 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the U.S.,” Anita Anand said on Twitter on Thursday.

“We look forward to providing an update to Canadians once the details are finalized.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier that another 2.5 million doses would go to Mexico, but the details were still being worked out.

The United States currently has seven million “releasable” doses of the vaccine, which has yet to receive approval from its Food and Drug Administration, she said.

The loan would be in lieu of a future exchange of doses from Canada and Mexico, Psaki said — either of the AstraZeneca vaccine or a different one.

“God Bless America. They’re coming to our rescue,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford told a news conference in Hamilton.

“I’ll drive down there in my pickup and pick ‘em up if we have to.”

U.S. President Joe Biden did not address the vaccine exchange when he updated Americans on that country’s vaccination progress.

He said the U.S. will have administered 100 million shots by Friday and that the country is on track to have enough vaccine supply to inoculate all adult Americans by the end of May.

Last week, Canadian provinces began administering 500,000 doses of the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India.

The federal government has purchased 20 million doses directly from AstraZeneca, but did not have a timeline for when they would arrive.

Regulators in Europe and the United Kingdom have concluded the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks, but both are still studying whether the shot had any link to a small number of rare brain blood clots.

Earlier Thursday, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is overseeing Canada’s vaccine program logistics, said provinces should have enough doses by the end of the next quarter for everyone who wants to be vaccinated.

But he later clarified that depends on provinces continuing to delay second doses up to four months so that more people can get their first shot sooner, as well as supplies coming in as planned.

“While there is no indications of disruptions or fluctuations in the production, it is a pandemic with global demand on vaccines that are produced as rapidly as possible,” Fortin said in Ottawa.

“We are always subject to fluctuations in the production and the challenges of a complicated supply chain across the world and into this country.”

Although initial deliveries from Johnson & Johnson and shipments directly from AstraZeneca are still in limbo, there is more than enough from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made in India to pass the one-dose-per-person target by the end of June.

Procurement numbers show there are 36.5 million doses confirmed to be shipped by June 30. Only people over the age of 16 can currently be vaccinated and about 31 million Canadians are in that age group.

Ottawa still says Canadians will be fully vaccinated by the end of September.

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said almost seven per cent of Canadians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 1.6 per cent have received two doses. The vast majority of doses given in the past two weeks have been first shots.

British Columbia announced Thursday that it would use its expected doses of AstraZeneca on 300,000 front-line workers, including police, teachers, grocery store workers and child-care workers.

Premier John Horgan said immunizing these workers will make the province safer.

Also Thursday, the premiers of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador said the Atlantic travel bubble will be restored by April 19. That means residents of the region will be able to travel within Atlantic Canada without having to isolate for 14 days.

Travel between the four provinces has been restricted since the end of November, following a number of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Meanwhile, Ontario, which is tightening restrictions in Ottawa amid “concerning trends”, reported 1,553 new COVID-19 infections and 15 more deaths.

Quebec has surpassed 300,000 COVID-19 infections with the 702 new cases reported Thursday. The province also added seven more deaths in its latest update.

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney said COVID-19 data looked promising as his cabinet committee prepares next week to decide whether restrictions could be further eased.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
East Sooke carpenter builds the ultimate tree fort

East Sooke Treehouse takes flight as an Airbnb

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
Wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Sidney’s Richard Talbot met Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip (here with Princess Anne) during their 1971 visit to Victoria as British Columbia celebrated the centenary of joining Confederation. This picture shows the royals relaxing as they sail from Vancouver to Victoria on May 3, 1971. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Croke)
Sidney man who met late Prince Philip twice remembers his wicked sense of humour

Richard Talbot first met the Duke of Edinburgh in 1971, then again in 2015

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Coldstream students took over the Your Letters page in the April 9, 2021, edition of the Vernon Morning Star to offer advice to adults about COVID-19. Interior Health took notice and offered their praise. (Vernon Morning Star)
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Grade 2 and 3 classes from a North Okanagan elementary took over Letters page of this Black Press newspaper

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read