Canada receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines as part of global immunization initiative
Canada has taken delivery of its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines as part of the global vaccine exchange initiative known as COVAX.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander who is leading the national vaccine distribution effort in Canada, said in a technical briefing on vaccine deployment today that approximately 317,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine purchased through COVAX are arrived in Canada this morning.
The doses were manufactured by South Korean pharmaceutical company SK Bioscience, which was contracted to manufacture the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
Canada has contributed $ 440 million to the COVAX facility, an initiative supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations to ensure equitable access to vaccines.
Half of Canada’s contribution goes towards purchasing doses of vaccine for less developed countries, while the other half has purchased doses for Canadians. Canada expects to receive approximately 1.6 million additional doses through COVAX by the end of June.
Canada has been widely criticized for taking doses of this initiative. It is the only G7 country that is expected to tap into the vaccine supply from the program’s first allocation – although a few other wealthy countries, such as New Zealand and Singapore, are doing so as well. The vast majority of doses of COVAX are intended for low- and middle-income countries.
COVAX has delivered 38 million doses of the vaccine to more than 100 economies since its first international delivery to Ghana in late February, the WHO announced in a press release today.
10.5 million doses delivered, says Fortin
Fortin said the federal government has distributed more than 10.5 million doses of the approved Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines to provinces and territories to date. He argued that all adults who wish to receive a vaccine should receive their first doses by the summer or early fall.
“The projections we have shared so far are very positive and suggest that if these deliveries go as planned [and] Without any significant delays or delays, the provinces and territories will be able to immunize all Canadians… the adult population, in time for the summer until early fall, ”said Mr. Fortin.
“If the provinces and territories stick to a four-month interval and the vaccine flow, as I indicated, is positive or stays the same … I don’t see why we couldn’t speed this up.”
The deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have largely stabilized. Pfizer plans to deliver one million doses each week in April and May before increasing to two million per week in June, for a total of more than 17 million doses by the end of June.
Moderna is expected to deliver 855,600 doses next week and 1,202,400 the last week of April. A backlog in Moderna’s quality assurance process appears to have delayed these shipments by days, although Fortin said they may arrive earlier.
Still no delivery schedule for the J&J vaccine
Federal officials still do not have a delivery schedule for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine beyond expectation that the first shipment will arrive in late April. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine received Health Canada approval a month ago and Canada has pre-ordered 10 million doses.
As for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, 1.4 million doses from the United States were delivered to the provinces last Saturday. The remaining 100,000 of a $ 1.5 million loan from the United States will arrive this week, Fortin said.
Another million doses of AstraZeneca from the United States are expected by the end of June, said Joelle Paquette, a senior official with Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Deputy chief public health officer Dr Howard Njoo said more than seven million doses have been administered across the country.
Eighty-one percent of people aged 80 or older received their first doses and 10% received their second doses, Njoo said. Among people aged 70 to 79, 53% received their first dose and 2% received the second.