OTTAWA – The federal government is expecting Moderna to make good this week on a previously promised batch of 855,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses that were expected last week.
Those delayed doses, along with a little more than one million shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, make up the extent of Canada’s expected vaccine deliveries this week.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing the federal government’s vaccination distribution effort, has blamed the Moderna delay on a “backlog with quality assurance.”
Officials have indicated there could be a similar delay in the delivery of 1.2 million doses from Moderna next week.
In comparison, Pfizer-BioNTech has been consistently delivering more than one million shots to Canada each week for more than a month.
The Public Health Agency is not expecting any shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson vaccines this week.
Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand promised on Friday that millions more shots are on their way in the coming weeks and months.
“We are accelerating rapidly in terms of our deliveries,” Anand said. “We have moved 22 million doses from later quarters to earlier quarters in the year, including … 44 million doses expected prior to the end of June.”
The rush to get vaccines into Canadians’ arms has grown more urgent as Canada continues to see a massive spike in the number of new COVID-19 infections.
Thousands of new cases were reported on Sunday, including a record 4,456 in Ontario alone. Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s chief medical health officer, noted admissions to intensive care units surged 23 per cent last week compared to the one before and said the Canada is approaching the peak of the current pandemic wave.
Tam said many of those getting sick are younger than in previous COVID-19 surges, which experts have blamed on virus variants that are spreading across the country.
That has prompted some provinces to start looking at changes to how they are distributing their vaccines.
More than 10 million doses had been distributed across Canada as of Sunday afternoon, according to covid19tracker.ca, with nearly 8 million having been administered.
Almost 20 per cent of the population has received at least one shot.