Canada is on the verge of getting the largest COVID-19 vaccine to date after weeks of delays from manufacturers.
A total of 643,020 doses are expected to reach this week – 475,020 doses from Pfizer Inc. and 168,000 doses from Moderna Inc.
Minister for Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said at a preparatory meeting on Tuesday (February 23) that most of these doses have already reached the country.
The latest deliveries will total Canada to 2.5 million doses from mid-December.
But shipments from Pfizer and Moderna need to double more by the end of March so that competitive manufacturers can deliver on their promise of a total of six million doses for the first quarter of 2021.
Federal officials have reiterated that they have received assurances from the manufacturers that they will deliver on the delivery promises.
Delivery of Pfizer was delayed for much of January and February as it upgraded its manufacturing facility in Belgium to boost production capacity.
This coincided with Moderna’s start of delivery, leaving areas like BC to delay the times between the first and second doses of the vaccines.
Both vaccine companies recommend intervals of around three to four weeks between doses. BC first extended that period to 35 days in January and then to 42 days shortly thereafter.
As soon as Pfizer and Moderna meet their delivery commitments for the first quarter of 2021, shipments are expected to rise even more as districts engage in massive vaccination efforts.
The first plan of the division’s release is based on the assumption that it will only include the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
But if more vaccines are approved by Health Canada, regional officials have previously said that BC will ramp up vaccination plans for the 4.3 million residents who are eligible for vaccines.
Those under 18 are not currently eligible for vaccines, but that could change if regulators give more light to vaccines.
Canadian regulators are looking forward to the next decision to agree on the AstraZeneca plc vaccine, which has already received the node in several countries.
Canada has ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while Anand confirmed that delivery would come from manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and possibly India.
“From a vaccine provider’s point of view, they are usually willing to give firm delivery dates in a quarter before they know the date on which they will receive approval from the regulatory body,” she said, when questioned about possible delivery in the second quarter of the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.