Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is poised to shift into high gear this week as the federal public health agency prepares to take delivery of the largest number of doses since the launch of the immunization effort.
Nearly 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are set to arrive this week, alongside 846,000 shots of the product developed by Moderna.
Figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada suggest the pace set over the next seven days will mark the start of a sustained delivery ramp-up, with Pfizer-BioNTech expected to continue providing weekly shipments of at least a million doses for the foreseeable future.
Vaccine volumes soared over the next seven days in part due to a pending exchange between Canada and the United States
Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday that Canada was finalizing an agreement with its neighbour to the south that would see Ottawa receive 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot before the end of the month.
Supplies are expected to increase further when two other vaccines cleared for use in Canada begin arriving en masse.
Shipments of both the AstraZeneca vaccine and the one-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson are widely expected to start arriving in Canada in April, though that timeline too has yet to be finalized.
Minister Anand has said Canada is expected to receive a total of 9.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the first quarter of this year.
Canada’s Public Health Agency said on Sunday that more than 670,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were injected last week. Government figures show that more than 3.95 million doses have been vaccinated across Canada as of Sunday, and 629,956 people have been fully vaccinated.
No unexpected safety issues have been identified in Canada so far, the agency said.
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