Johnson & Johnson has told Canada many times about challenges with COVID-19 vaccine: Trudeau

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference in Ottawa

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson has told Canada many times it is having challenges making its COVID-19 vaccine, which Ottawa approved only last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Trudeau spoke hours after Reuters revealed the company had informed the European Union it was facing supply issues that may complicate plans to deliver 55 million doses to the bloc in the second quarter of the year.

"We have heard in many conversations with Johnson & Johnson that there are challenges around production of ... the vaccine," Trudeau told a briefing.

"We will continue to engage with them and we look forward to receiving doses as soon as possible".

Ottawa has pre-ordered 10 million doses of the J&J vaccine, the fourth different shot that regulators have approved, with options to order up to 28 million more.

Canada has recorded a total of 22,276 deaths from COVID-19 and 890,698 cases.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Marguerita Choy)