A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is given to a recipient at a vaccination site in Vancouver on March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is given to a recipient at a vaccination site in Vancouver on March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COVID vaccine rollout set to shift into high gear with major surge in expected deliveries

Nearly 1.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine are set to arrive this week, alongside 846,000 shots of Moderna

Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is poised to shift into high gear this week as the federal public health agency prepares to take delivery of the largest number of doses since the launch of the immunization effort.

Nearly 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are set to arrive this week, alongside 846,000 shots of the product developed by Moderna.

Figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada suggest the pace set over the next seven days will mark the start of a sustained delivery ramp-up, with Pfizer-BioNTech expected to continue providing weekly shipments of at least a million doses for the foreseeable future.

The accelerated pace of inoculation deliveries marks a dramatic reversal from earlier in the year, when production delays in Europe caused the pharmaceutical giants producing the coveted shots to pause a number of international shipments.

The torrent of vaccines flooding into the country over the next seven days is set to receive an additional boost in the weeks ahead due in part to a pending exchange between Canada and the United States.

Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday that Canada was finalizing an agreement with its neighbour to the south that would see Ottawa receive 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot before the end of the month.

Delivery dates for the promised injections, however, are still up in the air.

Supplies are expected to increase further when two other vaccines cleared for use in Canada begin arriving en masse.

Shipments of both the AstraZeneca vaccine and the one-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson are widely expected to start arriving in Canada in April, though that timeline too has yet to be finalized.

Anand has said Canada is expected to receive a total of 9.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the first quarter of this year.

She said this week’s delivery of Moderna vaccine will be staggered over two shipments over the next seven days.

“The increasing size of the shipments that Canada is receiving means that at times weekly allocations may be divided into multiple deliveries,” she said.

“…Rather than waiting until the end of the week to ship the entire order of 846,000 doses at once, it was decided to expedite the portion of the order that is ready so it arrives in Canada earlier.”

Deliveries from Moderna were previously scheduled to take place every three weeks, but earlier this month the company stepped up the pace by sending shipments every two weeks instead.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Sunday that more than 670,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered last week alone. Government figures show more than 3.95 million doses have been administered across Canada as of Sunday, and 629,956 people have been fully vaccinated.

The agency said there have been no unexpected vaccine safety issues identified in Canada to date.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been the subject of much international scrutiny and backlash after several people who received the shot developed blood clots.

A handful of countries suspended its use, but at least four reinstated it after a review from the European Medicines Agency found no elevated risk of clotting.

Canadian authorities, too, have reaffirmed their support for the shot.

“Based on the information to date, Health Canada confirms that the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, in protecting Canadians from the severe outcomes of COVID-19, continue to outweigh any risks,” the agency said.

READ MORE: Fewer COVID-19 cases in people 80 and up, Tam says as vaccine programs expand

——

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

DOH
Provincial grant tapped to finance downtown project

Butler and 10th next on improvement list

RDBN. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Houston Soccer club. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston Soccer gets record number of registrations

Club will have a soccer season amidst COVID restrictions

District of Houston
Safe Restart grant spending firmed up

Will help cover losses from recreation fees

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read