Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the federal government is closely monitoring the gap between the number of vaccines delivered to the provinces and the number that have been administered.
The health minister was pressed multiple times by reporters during a virtual news conference in Ottawa today to say whether she thinks the provinces are being too slow to vaccinate people.
The questions followed a thread Hajdu tweeted Monday evening summarizing federal estimates of the number of vaccines delivered and the number administered.
Federal figures show close to 4,022,875 vaccines have been delivered to Ontario, for example, but only 2,545,640 have been administered. Quebec has received 2,320,707 vaccines from the federal government and has administered 1,552,215 doses, said Hajdu.
“I think it’s hard for me to give you a general answer because, of course, provinces and territories have very different strategies across the country, but what I can tell you is we’re watching closely and we stand ready to assist any province or territory who is having a challenge,” she said.
“I would say it’s important the provinces continue to make those difficult and hard choices, not just about vaccinations, but about also how to control the spread of the virus so Canadians can see an end to this ongoing health crisis.”
Hajdu said she’ll continue to tweet out the numbers to keep Canadians updated.
“We will continue to be transparent with the doses that we receive into the country, how they are distributed to the provinces and how they are administered,” she said.
Speaking to CBC News Network’s Power & Politics Tuesday, Hajdu said there has been a lot of confusion over the vaccine numbers and her tweets were meant to give Canadians the most current information.
“The intent was really to make sure that Canadians had the most current information, including links by the way to the provinces’ websites around their plans, so that they could have for themselves a good easy source of information. And we’ll be continuing to do this week over week,” she told host Vassy Kapelos.
“Obviously, everyone is anxious to get vaccinated. In some jurisdictions, in some provinces and territories, there’s a high degree of confusion and concern and so this information is presented to Canadians so that they have the facts as they try to figure out when their turn will come for vaccination.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford pushed back against Hajdu’s comments today as he pushed for more vaccine deliveries.
“I saw some tweet from a federal minister, ‘Oh, we have a million three in the freezers.’ We just got those. We literally got them a few days ago. So before that, we were running out, and we’ll continue to run out,” he said during his own news conference.
“As soon as we continue a consistent flow of these vaccines, then we’ll be able to expand the program. There’s no one more that wants to expand this program than I do.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the news conference he will talk with Ford today about what the recent caseload spike means for hospitals in the province. He said he’ll be speaking with all the premiers tomorrow.
“The provinces in general have been very clear that they feel the vaccination is something that they are able to handle on their own. But as always … if anyone needs extra help, the federal government will be there as we have from the very beginning,” he said.