'Very excited': Prime Minister Trudeau receives first dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, received their first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
“I am very excited,” Trudeau said, going first to get his shot, which went into his left arm where he has a Haida raven tattoo. Seconds later, Trudeau offered an enthusiastic “yay” with two thumbs up before it was his wife’s turn.
Ahead of their vaccines, which were administered at a local pharmacy not far from Parliament Hill, Trudeau said the pair was “looking forward” to it.
“If you’re eligible for your vaccine like we are, make sure you get your dose as soon as possible,” Trudeau said during a COVID-19 update briefing on Friday.
At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, prior to Canada imposing travel restrictions including self-isolation after arriving from abroad, Gregoire Trudeau tested positive for the virus, prompting Trudeau to quarantine with his family at Rideau Cottage.
In the many months since, Trudeau has spoken about how he like many Canadians are exhausted and looking forward to when the pandemic is the rear-view mirror.
“Thank you,” Gregoire Trudeau said to the health care worker who administered their vaccines once it was done, going on to explain the pair will receive emails confirming the dates of their second doses.
Trudeau wasn't the only member of his cabinet to receive a vaccine dose on Friday. Earlier in the day, Health Minister Patty Hajdu also received her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in her Thunder Bay, Ont. riding.
“The best vaccine for you is the one in your arm! Today was my turn to receive my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine," she tweeted.
These top political figures join a growing number of federal cabinet ministers and members of Parliament in receiving their first vaccine doses.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at an Ottawa pharmacy on Wednesday, while Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has an appointment scheduled for this weekend.
“I think it's important for Canadians to get a vaccine when they can, do your part. We're all frustrated by the fact that Canada doesn't have sufficient supply,” O’Toole said earlier this week. “But, it's important when you can, get your vaccination, follow health rules, be part of us getting rid of the COVID-19 virus and getting Canadians back to work.”
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is also looking to get her shot in Toronto where she lives, with plans being made to publicize it when she does.
On Friday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand, who has been at the helm of negotiating all of Canada’s vaccine contracts, said she is registered to receive an appointment in her Oakville, Ont. riding.
“I very much look forward to getting that call to come in and receive it,” Anand said.
Ontario and other provinces opened up their eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine to adults aged 40 and older following reports of doses sitting unused on pharmacy shelves. Some physicians and pharmacists have attributed this to an increased amount of vaccine hesitancy surrounding the AstraZeneca shot due to concerns over the rare risk of blood clots.
Later Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released updated guidance expanding suggested eligibility of the two-dose viral vector injection.
According to CTVNews.ca’s vaccine tracker, nearly 11.4 million Canadians have received at least one dose of an authorised COVID-19 vaccine.