Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to my colleagues. I really appreciate all of the comments so far. I think there have been some very salient points raised.
I also really want to echo what MP Kramp-Neuman referenced with respect to our mutual obligation to work together beyond our party affiliations on this committee. Canadians are counting on us. They demand and deserve a really effective health committee. In that regard, I feel very fortunate to be on the committee with so many people who are like-minded and who have similar ambitions to serve our constituents in Canada.
I'm happy to be having a meeting next week. In fact, I recall back on December 13 it was raised that we possibly would be reconvening for a meeting at some point in January, and I'm glad that we are. I would say that Standing Order 106(4) is one way to get there. We can also in future rely on each other. We have each other's contact information. We can convene for the mutual benefit of all of our constituents.
On the topic of funding from a national level, I think it's important to recognize that the Government of Canada has invested incremental billions to help provinces and territories strengthen their health care systems over the last couple of very difficult years. They have increased the testing capacity and they have stopped outbreaks from happening. That includes outbreaks in long-term care. In 2020-21 alone, the Government of Canada provided $42 billion in cash support to provinces and territories through the Canada health transfer. That has grown to $43.1 billion this past year, 2021-22. In 2020-21, $9.7 billion was sent to Quebec alone.
We will continue to work directly with our provinces and territories to fight COVID-19 together. It's nobody's fight alone. Every Canadian is sick of these lockdowns. I definitely count myself among them. I am sick of doing online Zoom. I would way rather be in the same meeting room as all of you. I'm looking forward to getting back to that as quickly as possible. However, I soundly refute the suggestion that the federal government is responsible for lockdowns. If that were true, then there would be lockdowns in a similar way in every single province and territory across the country, and that is just not the case.
We have continued to support provinces and territories. On the topic of PPE, we have procured more PPE per capita than probably any other country. Different types of masks are available for public use. Many are available in stores at low cost, or free in the case of many communities. On rapid test kits, to date we've shipped over 89 million test kits to provinces and territories, and 35 million, one for each Canadian, back in December 2021 alone. We just recently announced that an additional 140 million rapid tests, enough for every Canadian to take one through the months of January and February, will be delivered to the provinces and territories in the month of January 2022 alone. We are doing what it takes to fight this pandemic.
On boosters, vaccines absolutely remain the most important tool for stopping the spread of COVID-19. I appreciate the sentiment in that regard of my colleague MP Kramp-Neuman. I'm happy to hear that she got her booster. I also got my booster. I really want to say thank you to the Prime Care team in Milton, who set up a clinic just this week to fully vaccinate every Miltonian who hasn't yet received their last dose.
On December 3 the National Advisory Committee on Immunization released more guidance, all of which we will continue to follow. There continue to be solutions in the future that we haven't yet necessarily been able to take advantage of. Dr. Ellis, my colleague from Nova Scotia, referenced antivirals and other medications to ensure that people who are hospitalized don't have to go to the ICU. For those who might otherwise have to go to the hospital, taking an antiviral pill will be a solution. Our government has signed an agreement with Merck & Co. to procure half a million treatment courses of this oral antiviral, whose name I won't even try to pronounce, because it's a little difficult. Unlike my colleagues Drs. Powlowski, Ellis and Hanley, I don't have a medical degree. I don't know if you take a course on how to pronounce some of these pharmaceuticals.
We've also signed an agreement with Pfizer to procure an initial quantity of a million treatment courses of the oral antiviral from that company. We are waiting for authorization from Health Canada, which is forthcoming. Vaccination continues to be the absolute most central tool we have in fighting COVID-19, and it will provide Canadians with additional treatments as we're going forward—in addition to but not instead of vaccines, I would like to say. Additional measures are definitely necessary due to this difficult omicron time that we've all found ourselves in.
I would also say that because of my former career as an athlete, I got to travel a lot and meet a lot of people from other countries. Everybody in the world is going through this omicron thing. It's not an issue that's endemic to Canada. I will say that my friends from the U.K., Australia, Germany, Sweden and Norway are going through the same thing. I think we're doing quite well. I think we should be proud of our system. I think we should be proud of our officials. Next week, when we welcome them to this committee, I hope we will express that, because our communities are in good shape.
Our health care teams are stressed and tired, but they have our support. Our officials also need to feel that they have our support, because we are on one team. This is not one party versus another in fighting the pandemic. We are on team Canada. I thank my colleagues for their team Canada approach on this. Partisanship is not going to get us through this pandemic. It's not going to make things happen faster. It's not going to save more lives. We are all in the business of saving lives here on this committee and in this government.
So let's get to that work. Let's welcome our officials and the minister to this committee next week. Let's thank them for their hard work, because nobody has worked harder on this pandemic than these folks. We do owe them a debt of gratitude, while at the same time we demand some accountability. I appreciate that accountability from my colleagues here. I'm looking forward to having that conversation next week.
I thank you for taking me up on my invitation, which I sent out in committee on December 13. I said if you'd like to meet in January, then just let me know. We went a little bit of a circuitous route with Standing Order 106, but you know what? It worked, and here we are. I am happy to see all of you guys.
Happy new year, and I'm looking forward to the meeting next week.