To many Canadians, it certainly seemed unnecessary. Canada’s initial coronavirus vaccination program moved at a steady pace during the winter, while vaccinations in the United States accelerated. But Washington was not willing to share any stock of ten million doses of a vaccine he had not yet had to use for Americans.
This week it moved. After several weeks of proposing that any vaccine diploma is far in the future, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the United States plans to share 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada and 2.5 million doses with Mexico.
[Read: U.S. to Send Millions of Vaccine Doses to Mexico and Canada]
The White House announcement appears to have caught Ottawa officials off guard. Hours passed before Anita Anand, the minister responsible for purchasing vaccines, issued a statement that read more like an insurance policy than a letter of thanks.
“After numerous discussions with the Biden administration, Canada is finalizing an exchange agreement,” it read in part.
Ms Anand and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added little more on Friday afternoon, saying only that the talks were still ongoing and that the details would come later.
Ontario’s Prime Minister Doug Ford apparently learned from a reporter’s question during a news conference about the White House’s announcement. His response was more profound.
“That’s what real neighbors do,” he said. “You help each other in a crisis.”
As he did when he publicly pleaded with President Biden to release Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from a factory in Michigan to Canada earlier this year, Mr. Ford offered to personally drive down with his pickup to load the vaccine.
“We can take all the vaccines you can give,” he said.
From the remarks of me. Psaki it appears that the United States will officially only lend Canada and Mexico the vaccines. It is not clear whether it will eventually have to be replaced in kind and whether the loan will be of the forgiving nature. She also said that the United States will soon possibly share surpluses from other vaccines.
To date, all of Canada’s vaccines have come from Europe or India. Although it is widely reported, especially based on statements by former President Donald J. Trump when he was in office, that Washington banned the export of vaccines from American factories, the situation is slightly more nuanced than that.
Me. Psaki said vaccine manufacturers are free to export anything to anywhere, provided they comply with their vaccine contracts with the US government. The vaccine mountain growing in Ohio was created with money from the Defense Production Act. It therefore belongs to the US government, not to the company.
It was widely predicted last year that the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed at the University of Oxford, would be one of the first vaccines to be approved and injected. While it has indeed become the backbone of Britain’s vaccination campaign, my colleagues Noah Weiland and Rebecca Robbins reported before Thursday’s announcement that a series of mistakes had soured the company’s relations with US regulators.
[Read: The U.S. Is Sitting on Tens of Millions of Vaccine Doses the World Needs]
Although Canada and more than 70 other countries have approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the manufacturer has not even applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency clearance. Things have now reached the point, Noah and Rebecca write, that the “United States needs only short, or never, the doses of AstraZeneca.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine was also given attention for another reason this week. Several European countries have suspended its use due to a possible link with blood clots. Canadian officials did not share these concerns, and late this week the European Medicines Agency declared the vaccine safe.
Aside from a possible new source of supply, the AstraZeneca vaccine received another boost in Canada this week when the federal vaccination advisory panel lifted his previous recommendation that it should not be given to people 65 and older.
And after many weeks of sluggish movement, Pfizer and Moderna both significantly increased their shipments to Canada.
Although we remember that vaccine production is a cumbersome undertaking that can be slowed down or halted even by the slightest degree of pollution, the advent of spring could reduce the discontent in Canada.
Michael Spavor, one of two Canadians widely regarded as hostage by China, was secretly tried by a Chinese spy court on Friday. No verdict followed the short trial, which Dan Bilefsky and Javier C. Hernández report, was widely condemned as “a sham and a blatant display of hostage diplomacy.”
One of the more prominent women in the Canadian military stopped by this week and issued a burning resignation letter in which she said she was “sick through ongoing investigations into sexual misconduct among our key leaders.” I spoke to two veterans about their ongoing struggle with sexual harassment and even sexual assault while in the military and what they want to see is evident from the investigation into the current chief of defense personnel and his predecessor.
From an impromptu studio in the basement of his Toronto home, Matt Granite, the Deal Guy, “it now streams daily on Amazon Live, sometimes several times a day, covering everything from kitchen appliances to snow blowing,” Jackie Snow writes. ‘Below each video is a carousel display of the products he discusses. When a viewer clicks and buys that item, Mr. Granite a cut. ‘
The sneaky F-35 fighter remains in doubt as the Canadian troops’ replacement for his CF-18 jets, despite the fact that Mr. Trudeau killed a Conservative buy proposal and resumed the selection process. The Times’ editorial staff claims that the US military must sharply reduce its purchases of high-tech and expensive aircraft.
Ian Austen, born in Windsor, Ontario, was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has been reporting on Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.
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