Braid: Moderna boss won’t push Canada aside in rush for COVID-19 vaccine

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Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 8, 2020 in Ottawa. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/File

COVID-19 vaccines are a far more complex problem. The feds both purchase and distribute. They must work out timing and systems with each province and territory. Some vaccines require very complex shipping.

And first, federal regulators must also approve the vaccines.

“We will never interfere with the regulators’ work,” Hajdu said.

“They have to be independent so that they can make those decisions free of political influence. That can give Canadians comfort that whatever we approve will be safe.”

The Liberal record on political interference is not exactly stellar, so we will hold her to that.

But Hajdu, who has been pilloried as clueless and incompetent, strikes me as able, well meaning and fully attuned to the enormous challenges she faces.

She says she can’t pinpoint “an exact date” for distribution.

“It’s not all going to happen at once,” she notes. “In every country in the world this planning is going on right now, figuring out who the priority populations are to get these first vaccines.”

Maybe Canada failed to plan early enough to distribute something that did not yet exist. Surely there will be inefficiencies.

But we are in a silent war. As in all times of war, vast systems have to be re-shaped to effectively attack the enemy.

It’s difficult work but Canadians have long since proven we are very good at it.

Although Alberta’s pandemic is escalating daily – a record 1,733 new cases announced Monday – there’s also far more hopeful news than we could have imagined only a month ago.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

The original column has been altered to reflect Nov. 30 case count.

Twitter: @DonBraid

Facebook: Don Braid Politics

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