A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is given to a recipient at a vaccination site in Vancouver on March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is given to a recipient at a vaccination site in Vancouver on March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COVID vaccine rollout set to shift into high gear with major surge in expected deliveries

Nearly 1.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine are set to arrive this week, alongside 846,000 shots of Moderna

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.

The accelerated pace of inoculation deliveries marks a dramatic reversal from earlier in the year, when production delays in Europe caused the pharmaceutical giants producing the coveted shots to pause a number of international shipments.

The torrent of vaccines flooding into the country over the next seven days is set to receive an additional boost in the weeks ahead due in part 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.

Delivery dates for the promised injections, however, are still up in the air.

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.

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.

She said this week’s delivery of Moderna vaccine will be staggered over two shipments over the next seven days.

“The increasing size of the shipments that Canada is receiving means that at times weekly allocations may be divided into multiple deliveries,” she said.

“…Rather than waiting until the end of the week to ship the entire order of 846,000 doses at once, it was decided to expedite the portion of the order that is ready so it arrives in Canada earlier.”

Deliveries from Moderna were previously scheduled to take place every three weeks, but earlier this month the company stepped up the pace by sending shipments every two weeks instead.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Sunday that more than 670,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered last week alone. Government figures show more than 3.95 million doses have been administered across Canada as of Sunday, and 629,956 people have been fully vaccinated.

The agency said there have been no unexpected vaccine safety issues identified in Canada to date.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been the subject of much international scrutiny and backlash after several people who received the shot developed blood clots.

A handful of countries suspended its use, but at least four reinstated it after a review from the European Medicines Agency found no elevated risk of clotting.

Canadian authorities, too, have reaffirmed their support for the shot.

“Based on the information to date, Health Canada confirms that the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, in protecting Canadians from the severe outcomes of COVID-19, continue to outweigh any risks,” the agency said.

READ MORE: Fewer COVID-19 cases in people 80 and up, Tam says as vaccine programs expand

——

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of Maple Ridge man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is not currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Four more Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19

Cases at three public schools and Maple Ridge Christian

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin is still astonished at this community’s beauty. He recently captured this image of the snow covered peaks of the Golden Ears in the background, and cherry blossoms in the foreground. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View of Golden Ears from many different perspectives

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Spray paint was discovered at Hot Rocks. (Special to The News)
Popular Maple Ridge summer destination vandalized

Rocks discovered with spray paint along South Alouette

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 so far

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read