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February 26, 2021 – Federal government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A third vaccine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that a third vaccine, produced by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford, has just been approved by Health Canada to protect Canadians against COVID-19.

Some 2 million doses of the vaccine will be distributed across Canada over the next few months, including 500,000 doses over the next few weeks, explained Mr. Trudeau.

According to Health Canada, the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine is 62.1%, which is less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both over 90% effective.

The prime minister explained that the vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and that their efficacy rates may vary, but that the most important thing in stopping the pandemic is to ensure that the population is vaccinated.

With the delivery of the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, Canada could receive up to 104 million doses by the end of the year for its population of 40 million. The vaccine must be administered in two doses to be fully effective.

The need for caution

As Québec heads into spring break, the prime minister called on the population to exercise restraint and caution to prevent the break from becoming an opportunity to spark an upsurge of the pandemic, like what happened during the Holidays.

Mr. Trudeau is encouraging people to respect the health guidelines, that is, to wear a mask, wash their hands and abstain from gatherings.

“Mass vaccination is underway, spring is just around the corner, but we don’t want March break to undermine all of our efforts over the last few months,” said the prime minister.

Biodegradable medical masks

Mr. Trudeau congratulated a Québec company for producing the first compostable mask, made with wood fibre.

The prime minister congratulated FPInnovations for this accomplishment and announced that the company is working on developing a 100% biodegradable level-1 medical mask.