Remarks updating Canadians on COVID-19 public health guidelines and vaccines
Good morning everyone.
Before I get started, I want to take a moment to recognize that this will be an incredibly difficult weekend for many people across Nova Scotia.
To everyone who lost someone, and to the entire community, know that Canadians are holding you in our hearts.
Today, I’m going to talk about public health measures, vaccines, and support for Canadians.
Let’s start with public health.
Canada continues to face an incredibly serious situation with this third wave. Cases are rising rapidly.
In many places, numbers are higher than they’ve ever been before, and far too many hospitals are stretched way too thin.
In Toronto in particular, numbers are breaking record after record, and ICU hospital beds are filling up.
There’s no doubt that Canada’s largest city is struggling under the weight of this third wave, so we’re going to do whatever it takes to help.
On vaccination in particular, Ontario has reached out for more support.
I can tell you today that we are standing by to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help with their mobile vaccination teams.
This is about getting doses to people where the situation is most serious.
And we’ll also continue to help on a whole range of other fronts, too.
Discussions are ongoing about extra health care providers and we are ready to step up.
We’ve also already deployed Mobile Health Units that set up more hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton.
For Ontario, we’ve shipped out more health care equipment like oxygen units and drugs to treat COVID-19.
We have approved a request to have the Canadian Red Cross deployed in up to 27 long-term care homes as needed.
We’re supporting safe isolation sites everywhere from Toronto, to Peel, to Thunder Bay.
And we have deployed 300 contact tracers doing thousands of calls a day for Ontario, and lab support which has already processed over 15,000 samples so far.
Yesterday, I spoke with Mayor Crombie of Mississauga, Mayor Tory of Toronto, and Mayor Brown of Brampton.
We talked about what’s going on in the GTA, and what that means for hospitals, schools, and small businesses.
We also talked about the fact that this is a moment when we all have to work together to flatten the curve while getting vaccines into arms as quickly as possible.
Earlier this morning, I also spoke with Mayor Scarpitti of Markham.
I told him what I told the other Mayors last night – that our government is here to help.
And that’s true for every community in Canada.
No matter where you live, know that we have your back.
We’re supporting COVID-19 testing for people in B.C., Alberta, and Manitoba through mobile labs that can reach more patients.
We’re providing help on isolation sites in places like Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, to stop cases spreading.
And across the country, we’ve stepped up with money for school safety, shipped out PPE, and of course, delivered vaccines.
To front-line workers, people working in hospitals, those they’re caring for, and their families, know that we have your backs even as you have ours.
You’ve been heroes throughout this pandemic, stepping forward to help all Canadians. We recognize that. We continue to be there for you. You don’t have to face this alone. We will support you and your families as you keep us all safe. Thank you for what you’re doing.
And to all Canadians: I know you’re exhausted. I know you’re all sick and tired of COVID-19. I know nobody wants to be in this third wave, nobody wants to be facing further restrictions.
We just want to be done with this. But we know how to do what we need to do.
We need to follow the public health rules. We need to hang in there and hunker down for a number of more weeks.
Nobody wants to do this. I got into an argument with my 13-year-old this morning who doesn’t want to do this. Nobody wants to do this.
But we know that if we hang in there, hunker down, and follow the rules for the coming weeks – as much as we’re tired of them, as much as we’re frustrated – we have a chance of getting to the summer in much better shape.
This is a moment for us to dig deep, at what is hopefully the very late stages of this pandemic for us all, and make it through.
It’s time to show our neighbours and our loved ones what we’re all made of as we keep people safe.
Last week, I reminded premiers that we are ready to offer any support they need.
We are in a very serious moment of this crisis.
It’s important that we continue to work as a team, because together, we will get through this.
On vaccines, while we – like many other countries – have been impacted by manufacturing challenges at Moderna’s European facility, this morning I have some very good news to share about Pfizer.
Canada has now signed an agreement with Pfizer for eight million more doses of the vaccine. This is on top of what we have already purchased.
I want to thank everyone at Pfizer for their cooperation and hard work, not just to keep deliveries on schedule, but to move more doses up and reach new agreements.
With the new deal, Canada will receive four million additional Pfizer doses in May, another two million in June, and two million more in July.
For next month alone, this will come out to about double the Pfizer doses we were originally expecting.
All told, we’ll be receiving eight million doses in May and almost 12 million in June from Pfizer alone.
Now, that’s a lot of numbers, so here’s the bottom line: More doses arriving sooner means more people getting their vaccines faster.
And that means more people who are safer and more families that can breathe a sigh of relief.
Canada has now signed an agreement with Pfizer for eight million more doses of the vaccine. This is on top of what we have already purchased. With the new deal, Canada will receive four million additional Pfizer doses in May, another two million in June, and two million more in July.
In short, this means that we will receive about twice as many doses of Pfizer vaccine as expected for May, and millions more in June.
And we are working around the clock to get every Canadian their vaccine as soon as possible.
I know a lot of people – especially young people – are waiting patiently so that their grandparents, parents, and front-line workers can get vaccinated first.
Thank you and hang in there. You’ll get your dose soon. We are on track to have everyone who wants to, fully vaccinated by the end of September.
I know that this spring has been tough. But the summer and the fall will be better if we hold tight and above all if we follow public health rules.
Remember that this won’t last forever.
There’s every reason to believe that we’re now in the final – although toughest – stretch of this pandemic.
This is not the moment to let up, not even for a second.
So no matter where you live, keep your distance, wear a mask, stay home whenever possible, wash your hands, download and use the COVID Alert app, and be sure to follow local public health guidelines.
Hang in there a little longer because we’re going to get through this.
It’s normal to feel anxious or stressed right now.
You are not alone. Your mental health is important and there are people who can help. So if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out.
A year ago, we launched the Wellness Together Canada portal online. The website offers free and confidential mental health and substance use support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In the last year, more than 1.2 million people across the country have used this resource.
There’s no shame in needing to speak to someone, or in asking for help. So whether you’re looking for advice, resources, reliable information, or immediate support, you can always visit the Wellness Together Canada website to find help.
Whether on vaccines, health care resources, or mental health support, we’re focused on what you and your family need to get through this crisis.
On that note, this Monday we will be releasing our 2021 federal budget.
In the last few days, I’ve had meetings with all of the party leaders to discuss that budget.
As I said to each of them, it’s vital that we work together right now.
This is especially true on measures that are about helping you get through this pandemic – whether you’re a parent, a student, a small business owner, or a senior.
We’ll have more to say on Monday about our plan to continue keeping Canadians safe, create middle class jobs, and rebuild a clean, resilient economy that works for everyone.
But for now, let me just say this: Everything we’re going to lay out in Budget 2021 comes down to having your back through this crisis, and rebuilding a stronger Canada for everyone.
Finally, I just spoke with Her Majesty the Queen to extend my deepest condolences – and the condolences of all Canadians – on the passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
She expressed to me how touched she was by the tributes that have been flowing in from Canada and around the world for Prince Philip. And she highlighted and remembered for me all the fond memories she holds of trips to Canada with him over the past many decades.
Prince Philip’s legacy of service will be long remembered here in Canada, especially in his work to empower young people.