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Pfizer cutting back vaccine deliveries to Canada due to production issues

Last Updated Jan 15, 2021 at 4:21 pm PDT

Summary

Production line issues will cause a reduction in Pfizer's vaccine deliveries to Canada

Procurement Minister Anita Anand this is temporary

A statement from Pfizer explains this is a short-term pain for long-term gain

OTTAWA — Canada will see a COVID-19 vaccine reduction in the weeks ahead because of production issues with Pfizer.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says problems on the production lines in Europe will temporarily reduce the company’s ability to deliver vaccines to Canada.

“This is a temporary delay and we remain on track to have enough approved vaccines for everyone who wishes to be vaccinated by the end of September,” she says.

She adds that while the company says it will still be able to deliver four million doses by the end of March, that is no longer guaranteed.

A statement from Pfizer explains this is a short-term pain for long-term gain because the improvements to the European facility will increase production capacity.

“This is unfortunate. However such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Anand said at a news conference Friday. “It’s not a stoppage.”

Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin confirmed the reduced deliveries are expected to last about four weeks and Canada’s shipments will be cut in half.

Canada has received about 380,000 doses of the vaccine so far, and was supposed to get another 400,000 this month and almost two million doses in February.


Earlier this week, Canada secured another 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, bringing the total of arriving doses to 80 million this year.

The news comes as Ottawa released federal projections that suggest the pandemic may soon exceed levels seen in the first wave, rising to 19,630 cumulative deaths by Jan. 24.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam urged sustained vigilance as a long-range forecast suggested rapid growth in infections will continue without “quick, strong and sustained” measures.

Tam says that’s especially so in national hot spots of Quebec and Ontario, where a steady increase in hospitalizations has strained the health system’s ability to keep up with critical care demands.