Canada could be administering 3.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a week, but well into what the federal government has coined the ‘ramp-up’ phase of Canada’s vaccine rollout, the number of shots coming into Canada most weeks is still below what provinces and territories are capable of putting into arms, according to the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The federal government is expecting to receive a total of 1.9 million vaccine doses next week from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Future shipments from AstraZeneca remain to be determined.
Next week’s deliveries include 1,019,070 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 650,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Should all shipments arrive on time, the plan is to get the batches out to provinces and territories to use by early May.
While some provinces have reduced the minimum age to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, the government still does not know when the next shipment of the vaccine will arrive.
So far, deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine have only started to trickle in from smaller deals Canada made to get doses from COVAX, India, and the United States, rather than from the main contract with AstraZeneca-Oxford. The main contract, for 20 million shots, is estimated to start in June.
Meanwhile, India is facing a record-setting number of new daily cases, federal officials confirmed Thursday that the outstanding 1.5 million COVISHIELD doses Canada secured from the Serum Institute of India as part of a contract for two million doses won’t be coming anytime soon given the state of the pandemic in that country.
It’s possible a new delivery from U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration could buoy Canada’s AstraZeneca shortage, though while he’s suggested the U.S. could be sending more doses of this vaccine to Canada on top of the 1.5 million already loaned to us as the Americans have still not authorized it, no specifics have been ironed out.
The total number of doses coming to Canada next week would have been larger, had Moderna not slashed its promised next shipment of 1.2 million doses in half. This shipment was initially supposed to arrive this week, but the company continues to experience issues with ramping up its production capacity.
As of Thursday, Canada has distributed 13.7 million doses, and 11 million of those vaccines have been administered, with just over 30 percent of adults having at least one shot.
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