Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canadians can soon expect the country’s COVID-19 inoculation campaign to pick up steam after Canada’s vaccine rollout was temporarily beset by delivery delays and reduced shipments of doses.
“The temporary delays that we have seen are largely behind us,” Anand said Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live.
“The delays that we saw from Europe, from Pfizer, for example, were very disappointing and very concerning to me and to our government. But I have received assurances from the vaccine manufacturers that those delays are temporary and that we are very much on track,” the minister added.
Pfizer scaled back its delivery schedule last month as the pharmaceutical company upgraded its manufacturing plant in Belgium to boost production of its vaccine.
It’s also unclear how many Moderna doses Canada will receive in the coming weeks, with Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin — the military commander leading Canada’s vaccine logistics — saying the government is in the dark about how many shots are coming over the next two months.
The Massachusetts-based company has not provided an explanation for the reduced shipments.
Rollout to ramp up mid-February
Anand, however, has backed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s target of receiving six million COVID-19 shots by the end of March.
The minister told CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton that she has received “solid confirmation” from suppliers that four million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech product and another two million from Moderna will arrive by that deadline.
Canada should be prepared for the country’s vaccine rollout to speed up in the weeks and months ahead, Anand said.
“From February 15 onwards, it’s going to be a steep incline, and the provinces and territories should be aware that that is going to occur. And we’re going to need to have all hands on deck for the rollout of large-scale vaccines coming in.”
Based on the federal government’s forecasted allocations, Canada can expect to receive just over 70,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming week, with that number rocketing to about 336,000 by the week of Feb. 15.
You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.