The news comes as officials confirmed doses of the newly approved AstraZeneca vaccine are currently en route to Canada and are on track to be delivered on Wednesday.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said during a press conference with public health officials on Tuesday that vaccine deliveries are ramping up and will continue to do so, keeping the country on track for the government’s promise that everyone who wants a vaccine can get one by “the end of the summer.”
“We remain on track to ensure that we have enough vaccines for everyone who wishes to receive one before the end of September,” she said.
The last day of summer is Sept. 21.
Anand said Canada will receive 945,000 doses of vaccines this week: a weekly shipment of 444,000 doses from Pfizer and 500,000 doses of the just-approved AstraZeneca/CoviShield vaccine.
CoviShield is the name of the AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
As well, Anand said Canada will be receiving more than 900,000 vaccine doses next week.
The shipments come as regions across the country see what chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam describes as “moderate increases” in coronavirus cases, along with rising cases of more contagious variants.
“The concern is that we will soon see an impact on hospitalization,” Tam said on Tuesday.
“The number of cases involving more contagious variants of concerns continue to increase.”
The shipments also follow a stretch of reduced shipments, and limited early supplies of the shots.
Pfizer slashed deliveries to several global partners, including Canada, at the end of January and early February as its Belgium manufacturing facility got upgrades that the company said would let it scale-up to create more vaccines.
That news prompted criticism of the government and questions over whether Canada has a means to enforce the contracts it has signed with vaccine suppliers.
Anand said at the time Canada’s contracts with Pfizer are for quarterly delivery targets, and that the company was on track to meet those even with the dip in shipments for several early weeks.
She would not say in an interview with Global News Morning last week whether Canada retains the right to sue suppliers if any of the contracted delivery targets are not met.
The National Advisory Council on Immunization is expected to release updated guidance this week on the dosing schedules for the approved vaccines, according to the officials.
That is expected to address whether the dosing schedules can be stretched further, and come after B.C. officials said they will stretch the period between first and second vaccine doses to 112 days.
Ontario says it is considering a similar stretch between doses.
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