Moderna expected to scale back COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Canada once again: document
Published Thursday, February 4, 2021 9:35AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 4, 2021 2:43PM EST
For the second time this month, Moderna’s shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to be short doses when it arrives in Canada at the end of February, according to an allocation document obtained by CTV News.
The federal government previously indicated that Canada would receive only 180,000 of the previously promised 230,000 doses of the Modena vaccine this week and a Public Health Agency of Canada document now confirms that the company’s shipment on the week of Feb. 22 will also contain fewer doses than expected.
The allocation document noted that Moderna has not yet provided details on how many doses will be included in the next shipment.
Of the 180,000 Moderna doses being delivered this week, Ontario will receive 63,400.
Figures provided by the federal government previously suggested that Ontario would likely see another 80,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on the week of Feb. 22.
Speaking at a news conference earlier this week, Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, said he learned of a possible issue with Moderna’s next shipment on Tuesday.
“…my heart went pitter-patter, quite frankly,” Hillier said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t know if it is just a number that has disappeared, if it is a computer glitch or an IT glitch, or if there is something else behind it.”
The news comes after Pfizer, maker of the other COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, scaled back shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine late last month.
Canada received no new doses of the Pfizer vaccine during the week of Jan. 25 and the federal government told provinces to expect an 80 per cent reduction in doses for the weeks of Feb. 1 and Feb. 8.
Updated numbers from the federal government suggest Pfizer plans to ship more than 330,000 doses to Canada on the week of Feb. 15 and nearly 400,000 doses the following week.
Premier Doug Ford has repeatedly expressed his frustration with the delivery delays.
"These shipment delays with the Pfizer vaccine have been incredibly disappointing," Ford said earlier this week. "With the uncertainty surrounding a steady supply of vaccines, it’s clear we need to start production of COVID-19 vaccines right here in Canada."
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are produced in Europe.
Stalled shipments over the past month have forced the Ontario government to shift its vaccination strategy in recent weeks, focusing solely on residents of long-term care facilities and high-risk retirement homes.
Officials have said all residents of long-term care homes in Ontario will be able to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Feb. 10.
The province has pressed paused on providing first doses of the vaccine to health-care workers and essential caregivers of residents of long-term care.
Second doses are still being provided to all of those who have already received a shot.