Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons.

Kootenay-Columbia MP wants more clarity on federal vaccination rollout

Rob Morrison pushing for more information on vaccine distribution, prioritization

As Canada begins receiving shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison is calling for more federal government clarity over a national vaccination plan.

Morrison, a member of the Conservative opposition, said specific details from the federal government regarding distribution of the vaccine and determining who gets the vaccine first, are still unclear.

“They said they’re going to prioritize, but who? When?” asked Morrison. “That’s a far cry from 30-some million vaccines that may be required. I guess we’ve said for probably two months now — what is the plan?

The federal government has an initial order of 249,000 vaccinations from Pfizer-BioNTech, one of a few different pharmaceutical companies that have produced a COVID-19 vaccination. Canada has secured 76 million doses of the vaccine through an existing agreement with the company, however, timelines for the remaining deliveries is unclear in light of a global demand for the vaccination.

Additional challenges include transporting and storing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination, which must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.

In total, the federal government has signed agreements with seven pharmaceutical companies that will provide up to 429 million vaccinations.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s top doctor, previously announced that 4,000 doses are coming to the province soon, with immunizations set to begin sometime this week.

While each province and territory will determine specific rollout vaccination locations and priority groups, Morrison said federal guidance on vaccine prioritization is still unclear.

“…We just want to see a plan so that people in different areas aren’t forgotten, like us, for example, in rural British Columbia,” Morrison said. The federal government is also responsible for providing vaccines to Indigenous First Nations.

The federal government also recently unveiled a fall economic update at the end of November, which included a commitment to investing up to $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate economic recovery.

However, specific details for those investments are sparse, according to Morrison.

“The vaccine is coming out, rapid testing is coming out, so now we should be focusing on economic recovery, and we’re just spending more money,” said Morrison.

He touted the federal government’s acquisition of rapid testing equipment, but lamented the lack of widespread use of that testing to open up domestic or international travel.

“Where’s the rapid testing?” Morrison asked. “I realize we want the vaccine that is coming out, but our economy is frail and I’d like to see a plan for rapid testing to be maybe international, so that people — when they come from abroad — are tested before they get here and how about at our point of entries, our border crossings like Kingsgate or Rykerts? How about those border crossings having that rapid testing, so if they test negative, they don’t need to quarantine?”

Morrison noted the fall economic update provided needed support and relief, singling out the live music and entertainment industry that has been particularly hard-hit, among many others, over the course of the pandemic.

“There’s some relief there, and I’m really glad to see that, but I think overall, just a little more planning,” Morrison said. “I’d like to see the government come out with a plan, rather than just spending.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Details will be made available in the next few days. (File photo)
UPDATED: Community vaccine program to open in Golden

The clinic will be held from Saturday, May 8 until Sunday, May 16.

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Al Kowalko shows off the province's first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Okanagan schools shifting gears to electric buses

Vernon, Central Okanagan, Rocky Mountain and Okanagan-Skaha on board

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Officials are surveying the streets of Vernon to get a better sense of the issue of homelessness in the city, as part of the province’s point-in-time homeless count for 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Province conducts homeless count in Vernon

It’s the first time Vernon has been included in the provincial homeless count

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read