Workers unload a shipment of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine at the FedEx hub at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is trying to negotiate a deal to start getting doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the United States instead of Europe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Workers unload a shipment of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine at the FedEx hub at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is trying to negotiate a deal to start getting doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the United States instead of Europe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Pfizer increasing vaccine shipments as Canada appeals to U.S. to help with Moderna

Pfizer will get all 48 million of Canada’s doses into the country before Labour Day

Procurement Minister Anita Anand is pushing Moderna to start shipping its COVID-19 vaccine doses to Canada from the United States instead of Europe.

The negotiations, which also involve the U.S. government, come a month after Pfizer-BioNTech shifted Canada’s supply from Europe to the Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Mich. Anand said Friday Pfizer will ship more than two million doses a week through to the end of August — and get all 48 million of Canada’s doses into the country before Labour Day.

It has also agreed to ship another three million doses in September, bringing Canada’s total 2021 supply to 51 million doses.

“I would like to sincerely thank Pfizer for the partnership,” Anand gushed at a news conference Friday. “We have a complete delivery scheduled from Pfizer. Pfizer’s deliveries arrive on time and are stable. Thank you so much.”

She could not say the same to Moderna, which has sent just one-third of its planned spring shipments to date, and hasn’t been able to provide any shipment confirmations beyond June 14.

In mid-May both Moderna and Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden on COVID-19, said the company was going to start exporting doses. Initially the U.S. forbade the export of any American-made COVID-19 vaccines until U.S. orders had mostly been fulfilled.

Neither would say where the first exports were going, and the company’s spokeswoman told The Canadian Press Thursday there was currently no news on changing the origin of Canada’s supply.

But Anand told The Canadian Press in a written statement that Canada is “pressing for deliveries from the company’s U.S. facilities.”

“I continue to work with Moderna as well as the U.S. government to stabilize its delivery schedule to Canada,” she said Friday.

Moderna, which has never had a product on the market before, has provided vague explanations about production delays at its European production lines. The company signed an exclusive agreement with Swiss drugmaker Lonza to make its vaccine in both the U.S. and Europe. The brand new mRNA technology required Lonza to build production lines from scratch.

Anand has been pushing the company for weeks to give her a more reliable shipping schedule, but it hasn’t happened.

Moderna announced in February production delays would slow Canada’s shipments but was able to fulfil its contract to ship two million doses by March 31 by a matter of hours.

In April, it said a backlog in quality assurance checks in Europe was slowing deliveries once again. It cut the second April shipment in half and warned it may only be able to send 10.3 million doses by the end of June instead of the initially promised 12.3 million.

It has since blamed human resource and material issues for production delays, which have not appeared to affect the U.S. deliveries at all.

Moderna has currently shipped about four million doses since April 1, with another 1.5 million promised June 14. Anand said she expects “millions more” this month but can’t say how many or when.

The company is supposed to ship 44 million doses by September, and depending on future uptake of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Canada will need Moderna to at least ship half of its remaining allotment to hit the goal of having two doses for every Canadian by the fall.

As of Friday, Canada had given at least one dose to more than 22.7 million people, 2.5 million of whom also have their second dose.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said before outdoor restrictions should be loosened, we should aim to get a first dose to 75 per cent of eligible Canadians — currently those at least 12 years old — and two doses to at least 20 per cent.

Canada needs to give out another two million first doses and 4.1 million second doses to get there.

There will be enough doses delivered by next week to hit that goal but it will likely take another two to three weeks. It will also require bigger shift from first to second doses.

—Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Tam urges 2nd COVID vaccine dose as Delta variant emerges ‘essentially across Canada’

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Caledonia Secondary School is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to replace its aging science equipment. (File photo)
Cal snags major grant to modernize science equipment

The $50,000 comes from a pharmaceutical company

Unemployment rate drops in northwestern B.C.

Large improvement since Spring 2020

Uplands Nursery this year will do all of the 4600 Block of Lazelle Ave., beginning at its east end, and a portion of the 4700 Block. (File photo)
Lazelle sidewalk project begins June 14

Improvements coming to 4600 and 4700 Blocks

Cassie Hall Elementary School students pose for a picture in their garden. Since 2019, students and staff at the school have been attending to the garden project. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
Cassie Hall students grow a green sanctuary at school

The K-6 elementary school students and staff have been working on the garden project since 2019

Glenn Bennett returns as chief councillor for Kitselas First Nation after June 10 elections. (Submitted photo)
Kitselas First Nation votes Glenn Bennett as chief councillor on June 10

Six council members were also elected from a packed pool of candidates

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read