Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said today that Moderna will ship seven million more vaccine doses to Canada this month, ending weeks of uncertainty over when the Massachusetts-based company would deliver the long-promised order.
Unlike Pfizer, which has been delivering vaccines to Canada at a steady pace since March, Moderna’s deliveries have been more erratic as the company has grappled with production issues at its plants in Europe.
Moderna has routinely slashed deliveries or punted them to later dates, upending plans to set up vaccine clinics and slowing down the immunization campaign. Starting next week, Anand said, the deliveries will start to stabilize.
Minister Anand said the first batch of those seven million confirmed doses will start to arrive in Canada the week of June 14, she said. “We will be in a position to provide more specifics concerning specific shipment dates and quantities next week,”.
Moderna has delivered 6.1 million doses to Canada already. With the seven million promised today, the company is now expected to have shipped roughly 13.1 million doses to Canada by month’s end.
That figure is short of the 14.3 million doses the company originally promised would arrive in the first six months of 2021.
Minister Anand said Moderna’s earlier promises were just “targets,” so the company is not in breach of its contract.
Between the planned Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca shipments, Minister Anand said, a total of 55.8 million vaccine doses is expected to be delivered to Canada by the end of July — and that number likely will be even higher, given Moderna has not yet confirmed its shipments for the month of July.
That’s enough product to fully vaccinate 27.9 million people with both doses — or roughly 84 percent of the 31.9 million Canadians over the age of 12 who are eligible for a vaccine.
With 72 percent of all Canadians over the age of 12 partially vaccinated, the COVID-19 case count in Canada has declined dramatically.
The number of new infections reported daily nationwide has fallen below 1,800 for the first time since the fall of 2020, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.
The average number of people in hospital for COVID-19 has dropped 55 percent since the mid-April peak, to 2,000. Fewer than 850 people are being treated in an ICU, a 40 percent drop from the height of the third wave, Dr. Tam said.
The number of new deaths has also declined by 40 percent, with 32 deaths being reported daily.
However, Dr. Tam recommends caution, warning that one dose of a COVID-19 shot is not enough.
She said Canadians must go for that second booster shot to protect themselves, especially with the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 — the strain that was first detected in India — circulating in some areas.
Pointing to some early research, Tam said one-third of all people who have received just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine could still contract the virus and 20 percent of those cases could develop into serious illness.
She said COVID-19 is still “circulating widely” and people need to be cautious about their movements until they receive the second booster shot. As of today, just 10 percent of Canadians eligible for a vaccine are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Tam said provinces and territories should begin to relax their most restrictive public health measures only once 75 percent of the population is partially vaccinated and 20 percent have had their second shots.
With the Moderna shipments announced today, Dr. Tam said she expects booster shots will be “provided faster as the weeks go on.”
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