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Even with new COVID-19 vaccine approvals, rollout won’t increase before April

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Over 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed across Canada' Coronavirus: Over 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed across Canada
WATCH ABOVE: Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says more than 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine delivered so far – Jan 21, 2021

Even with two new COVID-19 vaccines under regulatory scrutiny, Canada’s vaccine supply is unlikely to increase before April.

The country’s rollout currently depends on vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, both of which are in short supply amid overwhelming global demand.

Read more: Coronavirus: Toronto’s mayor speaks to Pfizer about improving COVID-19 vaccine production

Canada is set to receive a combined six million doses by the end of March, enough to vaccinate three million Canadians on the vaccines’ respective two-dose regimens.

Federal officials confirmed Thursday that a delay in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments to Canada will cause short-term delays across the country. They also released a table showing how many people would be able to be vaccinated with the addition of all of the yet-to-be approved vaccines for which Canada has signed procurement deals.

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Vaccine shortage to travel bans, doctor answers top COVID-19 questions – Jan 21, 2021

If other vaccines apart from the Pfizer and Moderna products are approved in the coming months, 10 million more Canadians could be vaccinated by the end of June, making for a collective total of 23 million. However, the approvals would not boost supply in Q1, which spans January to March.

Supplied – PHAC. Supplied - PHAC

Despite hiccups in the supply chain, Canada continues to be “on track” to receive the allotted four million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech by the end of March, deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.

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“We will have enough supply,” Njoo said, highlighting all vaccinations are on track to be completed in Canada by the end of September.

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Major-General Dany Fortin, head of the country’s vaccine distribution efforts, said despite some provinces being “disproportionately” impacted by the Pfizer-BioNTech shortage, Canada has managed to distribute 1.1 million vaccines across provinces and territories.

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Fortin further maintained that such “losses” will in time be “rebalanced” once the supply picks up.

Read more: ‘We need the vaccine now,’ health official says as COVID-19 variant found in Ontario nursing home

Canada has administered some 700,000 shots – that accounts for roughly 1.7 per cent of the population who have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna products. In Ontario, about 40,000 people have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

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Meanwhile, Health Canada regulators are still reviewing clinical trial data for both the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson products. Three other vaccine candidates included in Thursday’s vaccine supply projection are not yet in the rolling review phase.