The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for April 16
Moderna slashing vaccine deliveries to Canada, but Pfizer steps up with 8 million more doses
Moderna will send far fewer COVID-19 shots to Canada this month than originally planned as the company grapples with production issues at its facilities in Europe.
But its main competitor, Pfizer — which also produces a highly effective mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus — has said it will send millions more doses to Canada in May, June and beyond, a commitment that will more than cover the shortfall from Moderna.
Massachusetts-based Moderna was poised to send 1.2 million more doses to Canada this month, but that shipment has been cut back to just 650,000 shots.
While those vaccines were to arrive next week, the reduced shipment is now not expected until later this month — possibly as late as the first week of May.
And although Canada was expecting to receive 12.3 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, the company has now told officials that it will be one to two million shots short of that goal. Delivery of those doses will be pushed into the July-through-September period.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that while the delay in Moderna's shipments is disappointing, Canada has now signed an agreement with Pfizer for eight million more vaccine doses on top of what has already been promised.
Canada will receive four million more Pfizer doses in May, another two million in June and two million more in July, Trudeau said.
That means Canada's immunization campaign will have access to two million doses per week of the Pfizer product in May and 2.5 million shots per week in the month of June — vaccine stocks that are badly needed as the country grapples with a punishing third wave of cases.
The country is now expecting delivery of 48 to 50 million doses from all vaccine suppliers in the first six months of this year. Based on those figures, Trudeau said every Canadian adult should be able to receive at least one dose by the end of June.