TORONTO – Canada will not receive a bottle of the Pfizer-Bioendech vaccine this week due to an international shortage that has forced Ottawa to point the finger and provinces to temporarily delay their vaccination rolls.
For the next four weeks, Canada’s vaccine supply will be halved to 400,000 doses, the Major-General said. Danny Ford, a leader in the nation’s vaccine industry. Canada will not receive any new deliveries from Pfizer this week, only a quarter of the distribution promised earlier next week.
Pfizer advised Canada earlier this month that the upgrade to its plant in Belgium would temporarily reduce production and reduce supplies to every country except the United States, which has its own production facility. The plant is expected to return to full production on February 15.
These improvements are expected to help increase Pfizer’s annual production capacity from 1.3 billion shots to 20 billion by 2021, which would be enough to cover about 13 percent of the world’s population.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke directly with Pfizer’s CEO last week, saying he was assured that the company would fulfill its contract promise to deliver a four million dose to Canada by the end of March, despite the recession.
The next shipment of Canada’s second approved vaccine, from Moderna, is expected in the first week of February, and is estimated at 230,400 doses.
Meanwhile, the temporary shortage has forced provinces and regions to pay the brakes on their vaccination roll plans. Opposition parties have accused the Liberals of mishandling vaccine production, and have pointed to other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, where more people have received their footage.
What does this mean for the vaccine roll?
Ford said federal health officials overseeing Canada’s vaccination program said the Pfizer delay was temporary and would not prevent the country’s long-term goal of vaccinating every Canadian by September 30. Future exports and “rapid deliveries in the coming weeks” will offset the current shortfall.
For now, the provinces have begun to re-use vaccination programs to prolong the time between vaccinations, in some cases excluding people from new vaccination appointments.
Ontario Premier Duck Ford called the Pfizer shortage a “major concern” and announced that the province would no longer meet the goal of vaccinating all residents and staff in long-term care homes by February 15th.
Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia will slow down their vaccination schedules. While Quebec can wait up to 90 days, the provinces will delay the second dose by up to 42 days.
The National Advisory Council on Immunization has advised that the waiting period between the first and second doses may be extended to 42 days.
In Alberta, authorities have suspended new appointments for those who want to get the first vaccine. Manitoba has suspended bookings for new appointments, but is expected to resume this week.
Is short-term long-term delay?
The federal government insists that the country’s long-term vaccine release must continue. Officials released estimates last week that Canada would still meet its target of vaccinating 3 million people by the end of March, which is eight percent of the total population. A total of 36 million Canadians are expected to be vaccinated by the end of September.
Although Canada has not approved any vaccines since the fall, estimates suggest that Pfizer and Moderna’s levels will reach 13 million Canadians, or 34 percent, by June and 36 million, or 95 percent by September 30.
Canada’s vaccine roll will occur even faster if more vaccines are allowed. It is estimated that 23 million Canadians will be vaccinated between April and June, making up 61 percent of the population, based on all vaccines purchased in Canada, but not yet approved. From September to July Canada may have enough for 73 million people. In such a situation, everyone who wants one will have enough vaccines.
How does Canada compare to other countries?
So far, 761,530 people in Canada have received at least the first shot of the Pfizer or Modern vaccine, which is about two percent of the population.
In the United States, about six percent of the population has received at least their first shot. However, the United States lags behind in providing available vaccines, with only half of all available footage not yet distributed.
In Israel, which has received numerous Pfizer vaccines from the Get-Temple, more than 2.5 million of the nation’s more than 9 million people have been vaccinated. Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 are now vaccinated on the condition that they obtain parental consent. https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/israel-expands-vaccination-campaign-to-teens-1.5279506
Canada’s output is on par with countries such as Finland, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and Estonia, all of which have vaccinated up to two percent of their population.
Canada is not alone when it comes to delays. Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and many European countries have all begun to reduce vaccinations, and Italy has threatened to sue Pfizer.
In Ottawa, liberals are criticized for how they manage. Some members of the opposition have called on US President Joe Biden to seek help.
NTP House President Peter Julian said the Liberals should explain the situation to Canadians.
“Why are other countries ahead?” Said Julian. “This is a question that needs to be answered by the government. And we hope that the government will articulate their plan to expedite the distribution of vaccines across the country.”
The government says it has worked hard to get as many doses as possible, in anticipation of getting as many vaccine candidates as possible in the coming months, and has signed several contracts.
With files from the Canadian edition