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

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

CGL’s graphic of the month showing planned activity for summer. (CGL update/Lakes District News)
Coastal GasLink reaches 692 km pipe delivery milestone

2 new COVID cases linked with pipeline accomodations

Volunteers from Tachie and Binche spent Sunday morning and afternoon cleaning up the Tachie Highway. (Joshua Hallman photo)
Tachie and Binche communities cleanup Tachie Highway

“We don’t just say we care about the environment,” said organizer. “We take action.”

CN Rail locomotives are moved on tracks past cargo containers sitting on idle train cars at port in Vancouver last February. RCMP in Northern, B.C. are currently investigating after a CN Freight Train struck some debris that appeared to be intentionally placed across the track on the Nechako River Bridge in Fraser Lake (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Freight Train strikes debris on Nechako River Bridge: RCMP

Intentionally placed debris could have resulted in a disaster

Highway 16 between Prince George and Vanderhoof was reduced to single lane alternating traffic April 21, 2021 at Cluculz Lake between East Bay and Lloyd Drive due to a slide. (YRB Vanderhoof photo)
Repair efforts continuing on Highway 16 after slide

Two-way traffic restored earlier this week

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read