Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has been warned of manufacturing problems plaguing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The viral vector vaccine developed by J&J’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, was authorized by Health Canada as safe and effective last week.
Canada pre-ordered 10 million doses of the vaccine, which is the first and only one in Canada’s vaccine plan that needs only one dose.
However, Prime Minister Trudeau said Canada still has no date to determine when it will receive the first shipments.
“We have heard in many conversations with Johnson & Johnson that there are challenges around the production of the Janssen vaccine, but we will continue to engage with them and we look forward to receiving doses as soon as possible,” he said Tuesday at a news conference in Ottawa.
“And as soon as we get confirmation of doses being sent to Canada, we will let everyone know.”
Canada’s vaccine rollout has stepped up this month after deliveries slowed to a trickle in February. Nearly a million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were delivered last week, and 910,000 doses of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are arriving this week.
It took Canada 67 days to vaccinate the first one million people. It should take less than one-third that time to vaccinate the second million.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 1.9 million Canadians have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson has yet to confirm with Canada where their vaccine will be produced. The company is making vaccines in the US and Europe. Health Canada authorizes facilities in both places for production.
The United States does not allow exports of vaccines made there until their citizens are fully vaccinated, but that can only happen at the end of May.
Johnson & Johnson production problems are affecting Europe and the U.S. as well. Several European countries, where the vaccine isn’t yet authorized, said they don’t expect as many doses of it next month as originally planned.
Last week, US President Joe Biden said that when he took office, he was informed that Johnson & Johnson had been slow in production and had begun efforts to find more production space.
Sanofi contracted to help make the vaccine in Europe, and last week, Biden announced Merck would help make the vaccine in the United States.
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