Canada is ramping up orders of COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer Inc. amid ongoing delivery delays from Moderna Inc.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed Friday the country has ordered eight million additional doses from Pfizer on top of the doses already expected to arrive this spring and summer.
Four million additional doses will arrive in May, while two million more will come in June followed by another two million in July.
The additional doses come after Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand told the CBC earlier in the day Moderna will deliver 650,000 doses by the end of April rather than the 1.2 million doses that were due to arrive.
“As Moderna indicated this morning, it faces ongoing challenges with ramping up production to meet intense global demand due to labour shortages and other issues. As a result, our next shipment will be smaller than expected and we may see additional delays over the coming months as Moderna’s production capacity continues to increase,” she said following the prime minister’s announcement.
“We are going to press Moderna going forward to make sure that Canada’s voice is known and heard, and that we very much expect them to meet their quarterly delivery targets. We appreciate the difficulties that the company is experiencing. But again, from our government standpoint, we are still seeking to ensure that the quarterly deliveries are there.”
Anand also confirmed that the first 300,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are due to arrive the week April 27 with deliveries arriving in the provinces and territories at the beginning of May.
U.S. federal agencies recommended suspending the use of the one-dose vaccine early Tuesday amid concerns over a small number of blood clots linked to the single-dose vaccine.
So far six possible cases out of 6.8 million doses administered have been reported.
The Americans’ pause comes weeks after similar concerns about a small number of blood clots arose over the competing AstraZeneca plc vaccine.
Canada is due to accept 4.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of June.
And late last month Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under the age of 55.
Both AstraZeneca and J&J have been manufacturing traditional viral vector vaccines, while Pfizer and Moderna have been manufacturing the newer messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.
Trudeau said the country would continue to follow information about the J&J vaccine as it emerges, while following recommendations from regulator Health Canada.