Canada's vaccines delayed again: Moderna to send fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses while Pfizer issues continue

Elisabetta Bianchini
·2 min read

Questions around delays in Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine deliveries remain outstanding, with reductions in both Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses coming throughout February.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada and head of the country's vaccine distribution efforts, confirmed that 180,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Canada Thursday morning. Initially, Canada was supposed to receive 230,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses this week.

The week of Feb. 22, the next shipment from the company is expected to arrive but although 249,000 doses were originally expected that week, the federal government expects to receive less than that amount, while the exact quantity has yet to be confirmed with the manufacturer.

“Moderna has indicated that they are, in good faith, trying their best to provide as many dose as possible,” Maj.-Gen. Fortin said. “They haven’t shared the specifics of challenges...in their yields or in their production, but they remain committed to providing us two million by the end of March.”

More than 1.1 million vaccine doses have been delivered across Canada, with 79,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivered this week. Maj.-Gen. Fortin said a total of 70,000 doses are expected to arrive next week.

He added that shipments are expected to be scaled up to 335,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine the week of Feb. 15 and 395,000 doses in the last week of February.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, spoke about the possibility of of getting six doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from each vile, instead of five.

Dr. Njoo explained the product monograph for each individual vile has been approved for five doses, but Pfizer has put in a submission to have an approved change in Canada.

“They have to provide the data and information so Health Canada is comfortable that the product monograph could or should be changed because you can, in a consistent and regular manner, draw six doses per vile,” Dr. Njoo said.

On Wednesday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shared a graphics that shows that Canada is in 29th place in global vaccine administration.

“Canada is not first in line for COVID-19 vaccines, as we were promised,” the caption from Kenney reads.

“We've run out of vaccines and are now 29th in the world for vaccinations per 100,000. We need more vaccines and we need them now.”

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