Canadians could be getting their COVID-19 vaccines “sooner than originally anticipated,” federal officials said Thursday.
To date, more than 41 per cent of Canadian adults have received at least one vaccine dose, according to deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo.
But based on the quantity of vaccines flowing into Canada over the next few weeks, officials say the vaccine timeline could be moving up.
“I think if we look in the coming weeks and months, we’ll have sufficient quantity of doses for provinces and territories to offer a vaccine to all those Canadians who want it perhaps sooner than originally anticipated,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s national vaccine distribution effort.
The vaccination pace to date is a good sign for the summer months ahead, Njoo added.
“I think everywhere across the country, there’s new energy, there’s new optimism as we’re getting more vaccines into the country,” Njoo said.
“The overall national goal has always been to vaccinate as many eligible Canadians as soon as possible. So I think we’re on track and I think it bodes well for the summer.”
For the month of May, 2 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will be flowing into Canada every week. During the week of May 16, 1 million Moderna doses will also be arriving.
Canada is also set to receive 655,000 AstraZeneca doses through the COVAX initiative.
“This should bring us to approximately 25 million doses by the end of May,” Fortin said.
In June, Pfizer deliveries will also be bumping up to 2.4 million doses per week. Fortin said these numbers suggest an optimistic scenario for the weeks and months ahead.
“There will be sufficient vaccines in country to vaccinate earlier than initially anticipated, with the first dose, all those Canadians will want to have it — it will be offered,” Fortin said.
Canada’s vaccine rollout has been picking up its pace in recent weeks. As shipments of COVID-19 vaccines start to ramp up, the demographics eligible to receive those jabs have also been expanding. Many provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, are slated to open vaccine appointments to anyone over the age of 18 within the next month.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was also just approved for use in children aged 12 and older, Health Canada announced on Wednesday.
Officials said now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your jab.
“As vaccine eligibility expands with each passing week, I encourage everyone to get ready for your turn. Check out your provincial or local public health website so you know where and when to register, make an appointment, or find a pop-up clinic,” said Njoo.
“Ask people you know if they might need help booking their vaccination. Look for ways you can help your fellow Canadians have a more normal summer.”
However, Njoo made sure to reiterate a warning. Despite the ramp up of vaccination efforts, he said public health restrictions are still a necessary part of keeping each other safe.
“We need to continue following public health measures,” Njoo said.
Those include “physical distancing, wearing a mask” and “of course,” he added, “getting vaccinated.”