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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is “very optimistic” it can speed up its COVID-19 inoculation program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, a day after Washington moved up its own deadline by two months.
Trudeau’s Liberal government, under fire for the slow pace of injections so far, has repeatedly insisted that everyone who wants doses can get them by the end of September.
Hours before Trudeau spoke, an initial batch of 500,000 doses from AstraZeneca Plc arrived in Canada. These had not been included in Ottawa’s initial plan, Trudeau told a briefing, noting that Canadian regulators were also examining vaccines from other companies.
“We are working very hard to get more vaccines more quickly. … We are very optimistic that we are going to be able to accelerate some of these time lines,” he said.
The United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. The initial goal had been the end of July.
Trudeau, asked whether Canadian businesses might suffer if the U.S. economy were able to reopen more quickly, cautioned against making direct comparisons, saying the crisis had caused much worse damage in the United States.
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