coronavirus vaccine rollout logistics has confirmed that the country will not receive any Pfizer vaccine doses during the week of Jan. 25, due to delivery delays that have hit countries around the world.The man in charge of Canada’s
“We are now seeing that our entire expected shipment is deferred for next week, and then the numbers start to pick back up in the first weeks of February,” Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin said on Tuesday.
This delay is due to the fact that Pfizer is scaling up its European manufacturing capacity – a move that officials said will impact the vaccine’s production for a “short period.”
“This week as our shipment was being prepared, there was minimal impact and in fact, we’re receiving 82 per cent of what we had originally planned on receiving,” Fortin said.
“However, next week’s deliveries have been deferred by Pfizer in their entirety… It will start back up in the first two weeks of February.”
He said the number of doses Canada will receive in those first two weeks of February has yet to be clarified, and they’re expecting to know more specifics by Thursday. Fortin also reiterated what the government first shared when it learned of the temporary delay, which is that the overall Pfizer vaccine dose shipments for the next four weeks will be chopped by half.
Despite this reduction, the government remains optimistic that Pfizer will be able to catch up after the delay, given that the delay is happening so Pfizer can boost its manufacturing capacity.
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“Canada remains on track to receive the four million doses that Pfizer previously committed to, to arrive before the end of March,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Tuesday.
Still, a recent statement from Pfizer indicated that some European countries may not be as hard hit by the delivery delays during the week of the 25th, prompting concerns about whether Canada is being treated equally as Pfizer reckons with its delays.
“I spoke with Pfizer over the weekend. I insisted on equitable treatment in terms of global supply reductions that it had announced and indeed; Pfizer assured me and Canada of equitable treatment,” Anand said.
Fortin added that some European countries that will be receiving more doses during the last week of January are being hit harder than Canada this week.
“The manufacturer has reiterated that they are applying this significant reduction across the board. Some countries have been impacted more severely this week; we have not. (We have been) very lightly impacted,” Fortin said.
“Our impact is more severe next week. We were expecting to see some – we are now seeing that our entire expected shipment is deferred.”
The news prompted swift and severe reaction, particularly from Ontario Premier Doug Ford. During his Tuesday press conference, Ford said the news that Canada won’t receive any Pfizer vaccine doses in the last week of January made him “very angry.”
He also said that if it were up to him, he’d be putting pressure on Pfizer’s CEO to send more vaccines to Canada.
“I’d be up that guy’s ying-yang so far with a firecracker, he wouldn’t know what hit him,” Ford said.
When pressed on whether Pfizer has guaranteed there won’t be other delays or shipment reductions, Anand said that she was provided “assurance” that the manufacturer still remains on track to deliver the promised allotment during Q1.
“In every conversation that I have with every supplier, I am reiterating the importance of earlier and earlier deliveries,” she added.
“That will not change. Every conversation that I have, I will stress the urgency of the situation that Canada is in and I will stress the importance of having doses in this country as soon as possible.”