Canadian Manufacturing

Canada edges towards new milestone in COVID cases as Moderna says vaccine effective

Trudeau said it was important for Canadians to focus on lowering case counts before deliveries begin in the new year

December 7, 2020  Alanna Fairey

OTTAWA — Canada edged towards a new milestone in COVID-19 cases Friday as accelerating infections had Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noting numbers are “too high,” especially in Alberta “where the numbers are rising alarmingly.”

Trudeau warned of increasing strain on hospitals and health-care workers, and urged Canadians to remain vigilant in public health care measures that he acknowledged will make for a difficult holiday season.

Meanwhile, U.S. biotech firm Moderna said it will have as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March, including 15 to 25 million doses available for non-U.S. countries.

Moderna said its messenger RNA vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19 and that Canada — the first country to sign a deal to buy its vaccine — will get doses from the first batches.

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At least 20 million doses are guaranteed for Canadians, and Ottawa has said the country expects to receive two million doses in its first deliveries.

Moderna also says new data from its first small clinical trial shows patients still showed signs of good immunity three months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.

Trudeau acknowledged calls for more precise delivery dates of prospective vaccines but said it was important for Canadians to focus on lowering case counts before deliveries begin in the new year.

He also noted that Ottawa was ready to support provinces struggling with spread but would not overstep its authority. Alberta has strained under soaring numbers and has been leading the country in per-capita case rates.

“Now is not the time to blame one another or point fingers. Now is the time for us to keep working together,” Trudeau said.

“Every step of the way our job has not been to direct the provinces or judge the provinces; it has been to be there to support them. And we will be there to support the people of Alberta just like we’re there to support people right across the country.”