Federal health officials have released a timeline of how many Canadians will be able to access a COVID-19 vaccine based on which candidates are approved.
At a press conference on January 21, federal health officials said that by June 2021, up to 23 million people will have access to a coronavirus vaccine.
If Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines remain the only candidates green-lit by Health Canada, 13 million people will be able to be immunized by June 2021. By September, 36 million people will have access to vaccines.
If the vaccines from the five other manufacturers that Canada has deals with are approved, 23 million people can be vaccinated by June, and 73 million by September.
Major-General Dany Fortin said that the latter numbers are “planning data” that are used to inform the distribution of equipment used to administer vaccines.
“The last thing we want to do is put jurisdictions in a place where we have additional doses coming and we haven’t factored that in early in our planning,” Fortin said. “It’s prudent planning on our part to factor those in and look at the different scenarios.”
Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently under review by Health Canada. Medicago, Novavax, and Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have not yet submitted their data to the health authority for approval.
“We really have the capacity, or at least we will have enough vaccines in Canada, to be able to offer vaccination to all Canadians by the end of September 2021, even just with the two approved vaccines,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Njoo acknowledged that the country is currently in a “bit of a tough spot” due to the temporary delay of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine shipments.
However, he assured reporters that the company was still on track to meet its commitment of delivering four million doses by the end of March.