Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie will take over as head of Canada’s vaccine rollout, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced Monday evening.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the rollout’s original logistics operator and planner, stepped down on Friday night “pending the results of a military investigation,” according to a Department of National Defence news release.
The Canadian Armed Forces have not said why Fortin is under investigation, but multiple news outlets have reported that it’s due to an allegation of sexual misconduct.
Fortin is the latest high-ranking military member — and one of the country’s best-known because of his work as vice-president of logistics and operations at the PHAC — to be accused of sexual misconduct.
The government has insisted that Fortin’s departure from the vaccine rollout won’t disrupt it in any way. However, Brodie steps into the role in a situation complicated by changing rules for AstraZeneca’s vaccine — the third-most administered COVID vaccine in Canada, having been given to more than two million Canadians.
As of Friday, every province had announced it would stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine due to reports of potentially deadly blood clots, which Ontario’s science table says threaten one in 55,000 people. The vaccine is also in short supply. Each province plans to administer second doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine when they become available.
Brodie joined the Armed Forces in 1989. During her career, she has deployed to Croatia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, and has served with both NATO and the United Nations. Brodie, who is a delivery specialist, helped set up the National Operations Centre for vaccinations in November, before returning to the Armed Forces in February, according to PHAC.
“As the Commander of the Military Personnel Generation Group, Brig.-Gen. Brodie’s appointment allows for a seamless transition, as she resumes her leadership role with PHAC,” PHAC President Iain Stewart said in a news release.
Brodie takes over the National Operations Centre, which, at the start of Fortin’s command, included 27 Armed Forces members who were helping PHAC personnel with the rollout. Soldiers assigned to the centre included specialists in logistics, operational planning, pharmaceuticals, health care, engineering, and information technology.
Fortin was appointed in late November, steering the rollout through its slow start, when Pfizer and Moderna’s deliveries to Canada were inconsistent.
As Canada has received more vaccines since the start of the year, the country’s distribution and administration of doses has also ramped up. Canada now ranks among the top countries in the number of doses administered per capita, and is vaccinating at one of the fastest rates in the world.
More than half of Canadians who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID have received their first shot.
In the coming days, Canada is also expecting the most vaccines it’s received in a week: 4.5 million from Pfizer and Moderna combined.
This story was copy-edited after publication.
More from iPolitics