Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. Canadians have nothing to fear from Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses made in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday as he rolled up his sleeve to set an example for the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. Canadians have nothing to fear from Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses made in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday as he rolled up his sleeve to set an example for the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

No reason to fear doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provided by U.S., Trudeau says

He said the 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses ‘loaned’ by the U.S. were not impacted by quality control problems at a facility in Baltimore

Canadians have nothing to fear from Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses made in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday as he rolled up his sleeve to set an example for the country.

Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau both got their first shots of AstraZeneca in full view of the cameras — an effort both to encourage others to follow suit and allay persistent fears about the vaccine itself.

The prime minister and his procurement minister, Anita Anand, both insisted that 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses “loaned” by the U.S. were not impacted by quality control problems at a key facility in Baltimore.

“There is absolutely no danger of that for Canadians,” Trudeau told a news conference. “There is no reason for anyone to be concerned.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the Trudeaus received doses that were manufactured in the U.S.

Anand said the federal government reached out to AstraZeneca when reports first surfaced in the New York Times about chronic problems at a Baltimore plant run by Emergent BioSolutions, where both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson doses were being manufactured.

Emergent announced earlier this month that 15 million doses of the latter were ruined by cross-contamination — a development that prompted the White House to put J&J in charge of the facility.

The Times also pointed to shortcomings in basic quality control at the Baltimore plant, including disinfection and contamination protocols that fell short of industry standards, despite a $163-million cash injection from the federal government.

“When this issue first came to light, we contacted the supplier and ensured that the supply that was coming to Canada was not affected by the issues that emerged at the plant,” Anand said.

“This is an issue that we were immediately in touch with the supplier about, and the supplier assured us that these issues had not been affected.”

Officials and researchers around the world have also been investigating a handful of cases of an extremely rare blood clot disorder in small numbers of people who received either the AstraZeneca or the J&J shot.

Public health experts insist that the benefits of either vaccine vastly outweigh the risk of complications, which is small. On Wednesday, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization cleared the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in people over 30.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden mentioned Trudeau by name when he mused aloud that the U.S. would likely be providing additional vaccine help to Canada in the coming days.

“We helped a little bit there,” Biden said. “We’re going to try to help some more.”

Afterward, government officials in Ottawa seemed caught off guard by the president’s comments, but Trudeau insisted Friday he wasn’t surprised.

“I had spoken earlier that day with President Biden about our situation and how we could continue to work together,” he said. “So it was not a surprise when he brought it up in the press conference.”

Anand said talks about further vaccine exchanges between the two countries are ongoing, as reflected by the president’s comments.

“We should always remember that our portfolio of seven contracts provides us with the basis for undertaking these negotiations,” she said.

“The fact we had the contract with AstraZeneca, for example, allows us to do the exchange agreement where we are drawing down on the 20 million doses that we have procured from AstraZeneca.”

Justin Trudeauvaccines

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

Just Posted

Fishers prefer landscapes with large areas of connected forest, said the Forest Practices Board. (Loney Dickson photo)
Logging continuing to impact fisher habitat in B.C.

Forest Practices Board concludes investigation near Bobtail Mountain Provincial Park

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty advises Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on mental health and wellness. (House of Commons Photography)
Cariboo-Prince George MP calling for 1-year deadline to establish 3-digit suicide hotline

Todd Doherty’s motion calling for 9-8-8 as a national hotline passed unanimously in December

A fundraiser has been launched for local senior Mary Klassen after a fire destroyed her mobile home Friday, May 7. (Aman Parhar photo)
Fire destroys home at C.J.’s Trailer Park

Two other structures damaged by heat exposure

Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce moved to its new location on Stewart Street West earlier this month. (Michelle Roberge photo)
New space for Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce

Chamber moves to West Stewart Street

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read