Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Canada has secured a new agreement with Pfizer for eight million additional doses of their vaccine.
The new deal will see Canada receive four million additional Pfizer doses in May, another two million in June, and two million more in July.
“For next month alone, this will come out to about double the Pfizer doses we were originally expecting. All told, we’ll be receiving eight million doses in May and almost 12 million in June from Pfizer alone,” Trudeau said at a press conference.
“That’s a lot of numbers so here’s the bottom line — more doses arriving sooner means more people getting the vaccine faster.”
The setback, however, will come from Moderna starting this month. Canada was due to receive 1.2 million doses of the vaccine by the end of April. That will now be cut to 650,000.
Public Services and Procurement Canada Minister Anita Anand said the reduction is due to a “slower than anticipated ramp-up of their production capacity and is affecting a number of countries.”
She said the production issues will also delay things over the coming months.
One to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses that had been expected in the second quarter of this year may be delayed until the third quarter.
“This news is obviously very disappointing,” Anand said. “Our government will, however, continue to bring vaccines into the country in the face of volatile supply chains.”
It’s not the first time Canada has faced setbacks from Moderna. In February, Moderna sent about 180,000 doses instead of the expected 230,400.
Earlier this month, Moderna again indicated that a batch of 855,000 doses would be delayed by a week. Those doses have since arrived in the country and distribution was expected to wrap up Thursday.
At the time, officials indicated there could be a similar delay in the delivery of 1.2 million doses from Moderna next week.
Moderna said in a statement to the Canadian Press there has been a “shortfall” in estimated doses from the European supply chain, and that it will be “making adjustments” to expected delivery quantities in a number of countries, including Canada.
Moderna’s chief executive cast down on the company’s ability to speed up output markedly in the next few months, telling Reuters “adding big chunks of capacity takes time.”
Anand said while she appreciates the difficulties the company may be facing, Canada will “press Moderna going forward to make sure Canada’s voice is known and heard and that we very much expect them to meet their quarterly targets.”
By comparison, Pfizer has been consistently delivering more than one million shots to Canada each week for more than a month. That trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
— with files from the Canadian Press and Global News’ Sean Boynton