Canada

Despite current shortages, government insists all Canadians will get COVID vaccine by September

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Sanofi, one of those candidates, has yet to even begin its final phase of clinical trials.

Canada has approximately 38 million people, though nearly seven million of those people are under the age of 16 and can’t currently receive either Pfizer or Moderna’s candidate. Assuming every Canadian wanted the vaccine that would leave roughly 31 million people who need two doses, but public opinion surveys  indicate between 10 and 15 per cent of people plan to refuse the vaccine.

Njoo said the most important takeaway from the government’s schedule is that even without additional approvals Canadians will be protected from the virus by September.

“We’ve got two approved vaccines, and if everything goes according to schedule in terms of the number of doses we anticipate receiving, we should be able to offer all Canadians vaccinations by the end of September.”

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo. Photo by Justin Tang/The Canadian Press/File

Fortin said the government included the unapproved vaccines to ensure it is ready for whatever happens.

“It’s prudent planning on our part, to factor those in and look at the different scenarios.”

Pfizer has said the changes at its plant will allow it to ship up to two billion doses this year, from its initial projection of 1.3 billion. Fortin said Pfizer has insisted the current reductions will be temporary.

“We expect a rapid scale up with deliveries in upcoming weeks following this current supply disruption.”

For Pfizer to meet its first target of four million doses, it will have to deliver nearly three million doses between when it ramps production back up in a few weeks and the end of March, with the additional Moderna doses expected in that time frame, provinces could face a sudden surge of doses.

Fortin said they’re giving provinces as much information as possible to ensure they’re ready to deal with the surge when those deliveries pick up.

“Last week, we provided the provinces and territories with planning allocation forecasts for this timeframe, including high, low and medium range supply vaccine estimates.”

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