Less than a week after announcing new deals for additional doses of approved coronavirus vaccines, the federal government has unveiled its new expected vaccination timeline — which includes millions of additional vaccinations between April and September.
A total of 13 million people were expected to be vaccinated by the end of June, with 36 million people vaccinated by the end of September.
However, since then, new vaccine agreements have shifted the timeline.
“Last week, (Procurement) Minister (Anita) Anand announced that the government of Canada negotiated an accelerated delivery schedule for Pfizer-BioNTech,” said Maj.-Gen Dany Fortin, who leads the logistics of Canada’s vaccine rollout, during a Thursday press conference.
“This means that doses of Pfizer-BioNTech scheduled for delivery in the summer will now be delivered earlier.”
Just under a week ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government had upped its order of vaccine doses from Moderna, purchasing an additional four million shots that are expected to “arrive over the summer.”
That comes on top of the announcement that the next batch of Pfizer’s shots will be accelerated and arrive in Canada sooner than previously projected.
With the new deals, Canada’s projected timeline has gotten a boost: 14.5 million people will be vaccinated by the end of June, according to the federal government, with enough supply to have vaccinated 42 million people by the end of September.
Canada’s population is just shy of 38 million.
In addition to this, another key figure has soared in the new timeline. If Canada approves other vaccines it has procured, an additional 1.5 million people will be vaccinated between April and June.
Previous vaccination estimates based on not-yet-approved coronavirus vaccines showed 23 million people could be vaccinated by late spring and early summer. Now, that projected figure has jumped up to 24.5 million. On top of that, by the end of September, Canada would have secured enough doses to vaccinate 79 million people — which is double the population.
However, in order to achieve this best-case scenario, three yet-to-be-approved vaccines would have to receive the green light: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax.
Meanwhile, the vaccine rollout is underway across the country.
“As of today, more than 1,329,036 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada,” said Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo.
“As of last Saturday, 2.7 per cent of Canadians had received at least one dose of vaccine and 0.8 per cent had received two doses.”
However, Njoo warned last week that the “vast majority” of Canadians remain susceptible to the virus.
“The key to controlling COVID-19 is to follow public health guidance on gatherings, social distancing, wearing masks and other measures as we wait our turn to be vaccinated,” he said.