The Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health today issued the following statement:
“Across Canada, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is built on a solid foundation of collaboration. We are witnessing this spirit in real time as front line workers, Indigenous partners, and federal, provincial and territorial governments are implementing vaccination campaigns of unprecedented scale and complexity to protect Canadians against COVID-19. Federal, provincial and territorial governments share the commitment to a principled approach to COVID-19 immunization, as set out in COVID-19 immunization: Federal, provincial and territorial statement of common principles.
Over the last several weeks, provinces and territories have administered over 490,000 vaccine doses. With our initial supply, vaccinations started with those health care workers, seniors, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in remote and isolated communities. Adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences may also be considered for priority vaccination. These are the populations that are either key to protecting the integrity of our health systems or are at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 based on science, independent regulatory review, and the advice of medical and other experts, including the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and provincial and territorial immunization committees. There is a need for compassion and understanding as we work our way collectively through the first quarter of vaccine start up and scarcity of COVID-19 vaccine around the globe. As supply ramps up in the coming weeks and months, more of us will be able to receive the vaccine, with most of the vaccinations taking place over the spring and summer.
We ask Canadians to protect themselves and each other by being vaccinated. Health Canada’s independent drug authorization process is recognized around the world for its high standards and rigorous review. Decisions are based only on scientific and medical evidence showing that vaccines are safe and effective. Health Canada has approved highly effective 2-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna and Canada has purchased enough of these two vaccines, assuming a steady supply, to immunize everyone in Canada for whom the vaccines are approved and recommended. We are confident that anyone who wishes to receive a vaccine will be able to be immunized by fall 2021.
It is important to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the many people that have helped to prepare our health systems. These efforts reflect the local needs and perspectives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Ministers commend these efforts and we commit to continue to work together to support a successful vaccination campaigns.
While vaccination campaigns are a major step forward, public health measures will continue to be essential. With high numbers of COVID-19 cases, it is more important than ever that Canadians continue to follow public health advice. Our success in fighting COVID-19 depends on the continued efforts of Canadians to keep themselves and others from getting sick.”