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

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read