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

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read