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Letter to the editor 1, Jan. 21, 2021

Open letter to the citizens of Vaudreuil-Soulanges

As we begin the new year, I want to share some important information with you that may help to better understand the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Canada. This past December, Health Canada approved vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer. Both of these vaccines have shown to be roughly 95 per cent effective, and regulators are analyzing the data of a third vaccine candidate produced by AstraZeneca/Oxford's.

As of January 18, a total of 822,765 vaccines have been delivered to provinces and territories by the Government of Canada. Of those delivered the 'COVID-19 Tracker Canada' reports that 590,124 vaccines have been administered to Canadians. But this is just the beginning. Major General Dany Fortin of the Canadian Armed Forces, who is overseeing the logistics of vaccine distribution at the Public Health Agency, confirmed that an additional 171,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive by the end of January. Millions more doses will arrive by the end of March and starting in April, Canada will receive one million doses weekly. This stems from advanced purchase agreements signed for over 60 million doses and ensures that any Canadian who wants to receive a vaccine can do so by September, 2021. This is all welcomed news and brings much needed hope at a difficult time for us all. It places Canada among the quickest to receive and begin administering vaccines globally and ensures that Canada has secured the largest number of vaccine doses per capita than any other country in the world.

As we embrace hope, watching more and more of our healthcare workers and seniors receive potentially life-saving vaccines, we must prepare for a potentially bumpy road ahead, not just for Canada but our international partners. Just this week, Pfizer announced that to meet the demand of its vaccine, it will be required to temporarily slow down production in order to expand its production facility in Europe. This announcement is understandable and may temporarily delay shipments to Canada and several European countries by a week or two. Although this will not affect our goal of vaccinating all Canadians by September, it does highlight that unforeseen challenges may arise and have to be addressed as we all navigate through uncharted waters.

We must also prepare to remain vigilant. Even as vaccines are administered, it is as important as ever that we all continue to respect the health and security measures in place to protect ourselves and our loved ones in our community. Staying at home, wearing our masks, washing our hands and using the tools at our disposal such as the ‘COVID Alert App’ will help us come out of this crisis stronger. I want to thank all of you once again for all you are doing and have done to help thus far.

If you are interested in following the vaccine rollout, here are two helpful links:

Federal Vaccine Delivery Chart: www.Canada.ca/covid-19

Provincial Vaccine Roll Out Plan & Progress: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/

Peter Schiefke

Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges