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.
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,” Anand said.
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.
Between the planned Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca shipments, 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.
“To be clear, that is the minimum number of doses that we anticipate receiving in that timeframe,” Anand said.
That’s enough product to fully vaccinate 27.9 million people with both doses — or roughly 84 per cent of the 31.9 million Canadians over the age of 12 who are eligible for a vaccine.
For the first time, Moderna will be shipping its product to Canada from U.S.-based plants.
Because former U.S. president Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed bankrolled much of the vaccine’s development and production, Moderna has earmarked all U.S. production for the American marketplace until now. The U.S. is now awash in shots and demand for doses there is declining.
With the shots coming from U.S. facilities, Anand said, there are “certain regulatory and logistical considerations” that Health Canada must address before provinces and territories can start administering these vaccines. Health Canada authorizes both the product and the individual facilities that produce them.