Federal officials have revealed that only half of Canada’s promised COVID-19 vaccine doses by Pfizer-BioNTech will arrive in the next month as a result of production issues in Belgium.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, has expressed concerns over the delay saying the province’s strategy for the two-dose regime depends on steady shipments even though the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is insisting most Canadians will still be vaccinated by the fall.
“We have been planning our vaccine rollout based on this schedule, including second dosages,” said Moe, noting he expected 11,700 doses a week in February.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading the national vaccine distribution, said Pfizer’s production delays would reduce deliveries by an average of 50 per cent over the coming weeks.
He said that won’t be felt until after next week because Canada’s upcoming shipment has already been prepared. But the final week of January will bring “about a quarter of what we expected.”
“The numbers will pick right back up after that to about half of what we had expected (and) progressively grow into the rest of February,” said Fortin.
“Pfizer is telling us it will impact us for four weeks.”
The government’s website revealed that more than 200,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were expected in each of the next two weeks and 1.4 million doses were expected in February.
Trudeau said Ottawa was “working day in and day out to get vaccines delivered as quickly as possible” but acknowledged that Pfizer-BioNTech doses have been derailed in the short-term.
Trudeau said this is why Canada has one of the most diverse vaccine portfolios in the world, pointing to seven bilateral agreements he says ensure “flexibility when it comes to supply chains.”