PM says new vaccine rollout lead Brodie 'ready and able' as Pfizer confirms 9M doses in July
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie is “ready and able” to take the lead on the logistics of distributing across Canada the millions of doses arriving each week, as the pace of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries is set to keep up through July.
Brodie is taking over as the vice-president of vaccine logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) replacing Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin.
“We’re going to get this done,” Trudeau said on Tuesday, in his first press conference since it was announced last Friday that Fortin was stepping aside pending an ongoing military investigation.
“She, along with the team that’s been there since day one, is ready and able to get millions of doses to Canadians in the coming weeks,” the prime minister said.
Brodie comes into the role at a pivotal moment as COVID-19 vaccines are becoming increasingly available and arriving in larger quantities and opposition MPs have said they’ll be watching closely to ensure that the distribution process isn’t impacted by the shakeup at the helm of the massive logistical campaign.
- Meet Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, the new military general in charge of Canada's mass COVID-19 vaccination effort
With more than two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines expected each week through June, Trudeau said that the same pace of weekly deliveries can be expected into July, with Pfizer committing to send 9 million doses of its two-dose mRNA vaccine that month.
“Hospitals, pharmacies, and healthcare staff are doing an incredible job rolling out vaccines to everyone, and I want to give another big shout-out to all frontline workers who are part of this effort,” Trudeau said. “With millions of vaccines arriving each week, getting doses into arms is a true team Canada effort.”
Brodie was initially seconded to the PHAC in November 2020 as part of the National Operations Centre alongside Fortin. The team consists of nearly 30 members of the Canadian Armed Forces including operational planners, pharmacists, health-care administrators, engineers, and IT experts.
According to the agency, Brodie briefly returned to the Canadian Armed Forces in February as the Commander of Military Personnel Generation Group, but has “played a pivotal role in the vaccine rollout.”
While Brodie has yet to appear publicly in her new role, she did recently take part in the 3rd Annual Captain Nichola Goddard Women In Leadership Roundtable, where she spoke about the impact of the pandemic on Canadians at large and specifically on her own family.
“We have crossed the one-year threshold of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are living and leading in persistent pandemic times, with all the volatility, uncertainty, and frictions of a third wave of variants of concern while we roll out vaccinations,” she said.
PHAC President Iain Stewart has promised a “seamless transition,” with Brodie taking the helm following Fortin’s departure.
CTV News has exclusively reported that, according to sources, Fortin is facing a historical sexual misconduct allegation that dates back to 1989. Fortin, through his lawyer Cmdr. Mark Letourneau with the Defence Counsel Services, has “completely” denied any wrongdoing. The allegation has not been proven in court.
Amid calls for the federal government to be more transparent about the military investigation, the majority of questions Trudeau faced from reporters during the press conference focused on the allegation against Fortin.
Trudeau offered some detail on what he knew and when, and acknowledged that the timing of Fortin’s departure amid the vaccine rollout was “not ideal.”
“This is also not an ideal situation to be in, particularly in this moment of crisis, in this moment of importance on the vaccine rollout, but it is really, really important that we have proper processes in place and that any concerns be followed up on. That is what all Canadians expect regardless of the situation we're in, and that's what's being done,” Trudeau said.