Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Canada will receive at least one million doses from Pfizer per week between March 22 and May 10.
“That’s a million doses of Pfizer alone every seven days,” Trudeau said at a press conference.
“That’s going to make a big difference.”
The influx is more than double the 444,600 doses expected next week. That’s on top of additional vaccine deliveries from Moderna, expected to bring 846,000 doses the week of March 22.
There are now four safe and effective vaccines approved in Canada by independent regulators — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — which officials say will provide flexibility to the country’s plan to immunize the majority of Canadians by September.
The delivery schedules for the two most recently approved vaccines, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have been slightly more unclear since being given the green light by Health Canada.
Under a partnership with the Serum Institute in India, Canada received its first shipment of 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on March 3. The remaining 1.5 million will arrive in Canada by mid-May.
An additional 20 million doses, manufactured in the United States, will start to arrive in the spring.
Meanwhile, there is no timeline set for when the Johnson & Johnson deliveries will arrive, nor is there a confirmation on which of its two sites — in Europe and the U.S. — the doses will come from.
Canada’s procurement minister, Anita Anand, said Friday that she expects more fulsome delivery schedules from both companies “in the very near future.”
“Our strategy has been, all along, to diversify our supply chains to ensure that Canadians can have product, have vaccines from multiple sources of supply, multiple suppliers and multiple countries so that we’re not negatively impacted by any control restrictions,” she said, adding that seven million doses from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca will arrive in Canada in April alone.
“That’s the benefit of a diversified portfolio. And we’re going to see those benefits manifested over the next weeks and months.”
Canada’s vaccine rollout has been criticized as slow compared to countries like the U.S. and the U.K., in part due to early shipment delays, sluggish regulatory approvals and dosing changes.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, head of the Canadian COVID-19 vaccine distribution team, has stressed that Canada’s rollout would “ramp up” in the spring.
The rollout has, in fact, ramped up in recent weeks and supply has been restored as new vaccines have been approved. As supply grows, the rollout is expected to open up in provinces, based on their individual plans.
Trudeau said Friday that provinces and territories have been updated with the new schedule so they can plan for mass vaccination sites.
— with files from The Canadian Press