Canada appeared to have come out on top after a COVID-19 vaccine roller-coaster ride on Friday, with millions more doses now expected to arrive in the country by the end of June.
The day began with Moderna announcing that a shipment of its COVID-19 vaccine to Canada scheduled for this month would be slashed to 650,000 doses from the originally scheduled 1.2 million.
But later that morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference that Pfizer had agreed to send an additional eight million doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of June.
Four million of the additional Pfizer doses will arrive in May, two million in June and two million in July.
That means Pfizer is now on track send a total of 20 million doses to Canada in the months of May and June alone, Trudeau said, boosting the total expected doses from all suppliers from 44 million to close to 50 million by the end of June.
“Remember that this won’t last forever,” he said. “There’s every reason to believe that we’re now in the final, although toughest, stretch of this pandemic.”
The country is “well on track” to be able to offer most Canadians their first dose of vaccine by the end of June, said Trudeau.
“That, of course, depends very much on provincial decisions on pacing and on target populations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Moderna has also told Ottawa that between one million and two million of the 12.3 million vaccine doses it was expected to ship to Canada in the second quarter could be delayed until the third quarter, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday.
The Moderna cuts were due to “a slower than anticipated ramp up of their production capacity and is affecting a number of countries,” Anand said in a statement to the Star.
“We are disappointed, and while we understand the challenges facing suppliers in the current global market for vaccines, our government will continue to press Moderna to fulfil its commitments … (and) for consistency of supply to Canada.”
Anand said Canada will also receive its first 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine at the end of April.
Its use was paused in the United States this week pending an investigation into reports that six adult women under the age of 48 had experienced blood clots several days after receiving the vaccine.
Health Canada said it was aware of the situation and is watching it closely.
The U.S. has administered more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and health experts have said that the risk of a blood clot from any vaccine is very rare.
Canada is expecting to receive at least 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
By the end of June, 4.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to be in the country as well, said Anand.
“Despite the temporary and short-term fluctuations in deliveries from our suppliers, Canada’s vaccination campaign overall, is gaining ground,” she said.
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