FEDERAL NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Wednesday called for the government to make sure Canada has the capacity to manufacture vaccines and critical medicines for Canadians here at home. He said that this pandemic has shown that Canadians shouldn’t be forced to rely on production in other countries in emergencies. As a result of not being prepared, the Liberal government will be forcing Canadians to wait even longer for a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
“These are tough times for a lot of people and people were hopeful that a vaccine would help them get back to work. But the Liberals are making people in Canada wait months longer to get a vaccine — leaving more people to get sick and potentially die from COVID-19,” said Singh. “Investing in public manufacturing of vaccines and critical medicine here in Canada would better protect Canadians from COVID-19 and help them through the pandemic. And future health crises.”
In the past, Conservative and Liberal governments privatized labs and vaccine manufacturers leaving Canadians on the hook without access to a vaccine and critical medicines. The Liberals handed billion-dollar contracts to big pharmaceutical companies and failed to make sure vaccines needed to protect people from COVID-19 can be made here in Canada. While other countries like Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. can manufacture their own vaccines to protect their residents, Canada is missing in action, Singh said.
“Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have failed to do the work to make vaccines here in Canada and to more quickly protect Canadians from this virus. They’ve showed repeatedly that they are on the side of big pharmaceutical corporations, not everyday people who need help now,” added Singh. “Investing in producing vaccines and critical medications here at home will make sure we’re prepared for emergencies. New Democrats will keep fighting for you and the help your family needs to stay safe.”
The only confirmed information Canadians have received is that 6 million doses of the vaccine will be available in March — enough for only 3 million Canadians. That’s not even enough to vaccinate seniors over the age of 70 that count 4.5 million people — never mind other people at risk like health care workers, essential workers and Indigenous people, the NDP Leader said.