Canada has received the largest shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this week with over 400,000 doses after it was delayed due to the weather.
On Thursday morning, Major-General Dany Fortin, who heads the country’s vaccine distribution efforts, confirmed that 403,650 doses have been delivered. Distribution to the provinces is now underway to be completed by the end of the week.
Next week, Canada will receive 475,000 Pfizer doses, in what officials call a “ramp up” of vaccine distribution.
Fortin said that Canada is expected to have 444,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccines delivered every week in March — by the end of the first quarter, four million Pfizer vaccines will have been distributed.
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“The Government of Canada has accelerated delivery scheduled for Pfizer. This means that doses scheduled in the summer will now be done earlier in the spring,” Fortin said.
The pharmaceutical company will provide an additional 2.8 million doses than what was previously anticipated.
Next week, 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive. The remaining 1.3 million doses, to be delivered by the end of the first quarter, will be done in two shipments.
Fortin said the federal government is working with provinces to ensure they have the capacity for the increased shipment size. With 23 million doses of the vaccine expected between April and June, he said they’re focusing the planning efforts on these months.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized for the slow rollout of the vaccine, with just over 1.5 million doses being administered across the country since December.
There have been delays for both Pfizer and Moderna, affecting the rollout.
In early February, Trudeau signed a deal with Novavax to produce doses of its new COVID-19 vaccine at a new facility in Montreal. However, the facility will not be ready until the fall.
By the end of the first quarter, the Canadian government is hoping to have three million people vaccinated and 14.5 million by the end of June.