OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – While Canada has signed a deal to secure millions of additional Pfizer vaccine doses, the country has learned that its incoming shipment of COVID-19 shots from Moderna has been cut nearly in half through the rest of April.
That means Canada is now expected to receive 650,000 doses of Moderna’s drug instead of the approximately 1.2 million through the rest of the month.
Moderna has chalked the delay to a “slower than anticipated ramp up” of its production capacity. This is affecting a number of countries, federal officials say.
“Our next shipment will be smaller than expected and we may see additional delays over the coming months as Moderna’s production capacity continues to increase,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday. “This news is obviously very disappointing.”
In addition to the incoming delay, Moderna has also indicated that up to 2 million doses of the 12.3 million Canada was expecting in the second quarter may be delayed until the third, Anand added.
“While we understand the challenges facing suppliers in the current global market for vaccines, our government will continue to press Moderna to fulfill its commitments,” she said.
Meanwhile, Canada is now expecting to receive 8 million additional Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses in the coming months.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country is set to receive 4 million additional doses in May, another 2 million in June, and 2 million more in July.
“For next month alone, this will come out to about double the Pfizer doses we were originally expecting. All told, we’ll be receiving eight million doses in May and almost 12 million in June from Pfizer alone,” Trudeau explained Friday.
These developments come after Canadians were told on Thursday that shipments from the pharmaceutical giant were once again going to be pushed back.
The federal government has vowed to support provinces after they said the unpredictability caused by the delays was creating logistical problems for vaccine rollouts.
“We are working closely with provinces and territories to risk manage this efficiently,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who leads Canada’s vaccine distribution efforts. “I think it’s worth mentioning that we are fully aware that provinces are making adjustments and we are trying to narrow this down as much as possible.”