MP Williams Grills Experts on COVID Concerns

Today members of the Standing Committee on Health wanted answers to many COVID questions that Canadians are begging for answers to. Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams asked Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and second in command to the Public Health Agency to explain why we continue with our testing? MP Williams said “Last week, Dr. Theresa Tam, you stated that Canada’s COVID testing requirements for travel are a drain on our already overwhelmed system, and that the resources could be better used elsewhere?” MP Williams went on to say “For two years, we have been preaching about social distancing and maintaining small groups to prevent the spread of COVID. I have constituents who were crammed for hours into waiting areas at the airport just to be tested, putting themselves in uncompromising positions with other travelers. What are we trying to prevent here? At what date will Canada revise the federally mandated quarantine length recommendations to five days, to align with the provinces and the CDC?” 

Dr. Tam said “At the border we’re not just focusing on omicron. We’re focusing on some other variant that might come along with different incubation periods and isolation periods. So that must be taken into account as we look at our next phase in our border measures.” Dr. Tam went on to add “The period of communicability for omicron is actually not that different from the other viruses in that an individual who is infected, for example, is still capable of shedding the virus and communicating this even up to the 10 days. So it is a matter of fact that risk tolerance has to be adjusted because right now people are running out of critical infrastructure and health care providers. So this is a difficult decision that the provinces have to make so they’ve been making that adjustment.” 

MP Williams also wanted to know about Canadian made vaccines that his constituents are asking about. Williams said “Novavax and Medicago offer ‘Made in Canada’ vaccines that are not only innovative but could help vaccinate the world. Novavax had $126 million of taxpayer dollars invested with the promise from Minister Champagne that it would be producing vaccines in December. It sits idle. After two years, when will Canada be producing vaccines, and how long until Quebec’s Medicago get approved?”

Dr. Stephen Lucas said “In regard to the regulatory submissions for Novavax and Medicago, the Health Canada dedicated regulatory teams for each submission are working very hard at these. They are dependent on information from the companies to complete those reviews, but we expect to be making decisions on both vaccines in the coming weeks.”