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Trudeau to address 3rd wave concerns with premiers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, front, speaks as Ontario Premier Doug Ford listens after taking part in a ground breaking event at the Iamgold Cote Gold mining site in Gogama, Ont., on Friday, September 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blames pandemic fatigue for sniping by provincial governments over the federal government’s delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

Trudeau says he is speaking with premiers this week, assuring them that Ottawa will continue to support Canadians through what he calls a “very serious” third wave of the pandemic.

“We’re in a situation where everyone is exhausted,” said Trudeau. “Not just families, workers, workers, businesses, front-line workers but also leaders. This has been a very, very long year.”

Trudeau confirmed that he was scheduled to speak with Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday and will be holding a call with all premiers tomorrow.

RELATED: Ontario moving into Phase 2 of vaccine rollout, essential workers eligible for 1st dose by mid-May

Trudeau says he will be looking for any way the feds can help provinces, including the distribution of vaccines.

“I know we’ll talk about what the spike in cases means for hospitals and the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” Trudeau said.

“We’ll continue working together to keep Ontarians safe and to support people and businesses through this next wave.”

The feds have delivered more than 10 million doses to provinces but as of last night, 3.5 million doses were not administered.

Ontario alone had nearly 1.5-million shots in freezers.

The Prime Minister also announced the final installment of the “Safe Restart Fund” will go out to the provinces and territories with $700 million to help with testing capacity.

Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says if his party is elected into government, it will hold a public inquiry into the Trudeau government’s response to the pandemic

In May of last year, the Prime Minister already committed to a review of the pandemic response but said it would have to wait until the emergency is over.

Meanwhile, chief public health officer Doctor Theresa Tam says she’s concerned about interprovincial travel, as COVID-19 variants continue to spread across the country.

She says the strains could be spread further across Canada, noting new variants of concern are now being identified in provinces including B-C, Alberta, and Ontario.

Tam says some laboratory tests show vaccines may not be as effective against the P-1 variant first identified in Brazil, meaning people who have been vaccinated or who have contracted COVID-19 could still get sick or reinfected by the virus.

With files from The Canadian Press

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