Trudeau challenges Trump’s claim that vaccine will be available ‘in weeks’, announces $214M for Canadian vaccine development

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Trudeau says COVID-19 vaccine won’t come before the new year

At a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to U.S. President’s Donald Trump’s claim that a viable COVID-19 vaccine could be available in a matter of “weeks,” if not by the end of the year.

“We are hopeful that the vaccines will arrive yesterday, but they won’t,” Trudeau said. “There’s still a number more months of work to do.”

“Reasonable expectation is that vaccines could start to arrive sometime in the new year but even then, there will be smaller amounts of doses that will have to be distributed to priority populations, I think of most vulnerable or our frontline workers.”

The prime minister also said Canada has “an excellent portfolio of vaccine potentials” but stressed that “nobody’s got a vaccine yet.”

“There are still trials going on, there are still a number of companies, some closer than others, but we are waiting to ensure that those vaccines are effective and further, that they will be safe for Canadians,’ Trudeau said. “Nothing will be distributed in Canada until Health Canada is absolutely certain that the safety of Canadians is being properly covered and taken care of.” 

PM looking at Alberta travel pilot project to guide loosening border restriction

The prime minister also commented on yesterday’s announcement that Alberta will begin a pilot project in November, allowing travellers to be tested for COVID-19 upon returning to the province to reduce the required self-isolation time

“We’re interested in seeing the result of this pilot project, but it is only a pilot project,” Trudeau said. “As we move forward into the coming months and perhaps look at loosening some of the border restrictions internationally, we will be able to have data to rely on to make sure that we are first and foremost, keeping Canadian’s safe and controlling the spread of the virus.”

‘This is serious’

When speaking more generally about the COVID-19 situation in Canada, the prime minister stressed to Canadians that the daily case numbers in the country need to be reduced, as Canada saw its highest single-day increase on Thursday, totalling 2,786 cases.

“We have to get these numbers down, this is serious and everybody must do their part,” Trudeau said. “People’s lives are at stake, we can’t afford to be careless or think that this virus will just go away on its own.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, spoke specifically about the increases in outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Canada, including Ontario and Quebec.

“The size of the outbreaks are smaller than in the initial wave,” Dr. Tam identified. “I’m not sure exactly what that means, that could be people are identifying things more rapidly and putting in control measures, and the prevention is better, but

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