covid 19 vaccine canada

Justin Trudeau says we're still a long way away from having a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

Canadians have known for some time now that life in our country won't return to anything resembling normal until a vaccine is developed and available, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that reality is still quite a long way off. 

Speaking outside Rideau Cottage during his daily press briefing, Trudeau confirmed that we're still far away from finding a working vaccine —and that's simply the first step towards effectively protecting the public.

"We are still, unfortunately, a long way from having a vaccine and just finding the vaccine is the first step," he said.

"The next step will be producing the vaccines in sufficient number to inoculate everyone or almost everyone."

He said Canada is already preparing in terms of manufacturing and production capacity here, because we know countries around the world will be producing for their own citizens first and we need to be doing the same.

When asked by a reporter whether or not the vaccine will be mandatory, Trudeau said that has yet to be decided. 

He also said there is still the possibility that a vaccine won't ever be discovered, but proper treatments could still help us get back to normal. 

"We know a vaccine will be extremely important to getting back to normal. There are situations and there are diseases for which vaccines have been searched for a long time — I think of HIV/Aids —  where there is still no vaccine even after decades of research into a vaccine," he said. 

"There are treatments to manage the spread of HIV and there could be treatments that aren't a vaccine that could help us manage and get back to normal without a vaccine."

Still, if a vaccine is discovered, Trudeau said there are many important decisions to be made around how to immunize the population enough to prevent further spread. 

"There are a lot of studies done on that over the last years in terms of what threshold of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to prevent any spread of a disease and that research will obviously inform decisions we take around the  COVID-19 vaccine when it comes," he said.

Earlier this week, the federal government announced an additional investment of $1.1 billion into researching and testing to find a vaccine for the virus, and this is on top of the $192 million they've already funnelled into research and development.

Lead photo by

Dmitri Houtteman

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