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Pfizer accelerates summer vaccine deliveries, moves up 5m doses to June

Canada set to receive largest number of deliveries to date this week
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Pfizer Inc. is accelerating its summer delivery schedule of COVID-19 vaccine doses, moving up millions more doses.

The pharmaceutical giant now plans to ship an additional five million doses — originally due to arrive later this summer — in June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed on Tuesday.

Canada is due to receive 9.6 million vaccine doses that month rather than the original 4.6 million that were expected.

Changes to the delivery schedule come as the country prepares to accept its largest number of deliveries to date.

This week Canada will accept 3.2 million doses from three different manufacturers, including just under 1.2 million doses from Pfizer.

That’s in addition to 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca plc vaccine that were being loaded into trucks in the U.S. this morning to be shipped across the border by the end of the day.

This week’s Moderna Inc. delivery has been delayed several days amid quality assurance issues but Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said last week those shipments — totalling about 500,000 doses — are expected to arrive by Thursday.

By the end of the week, Canada will have received about 9.5 million doses since the vaccination campaign began in December.

And with the updated shipments from Pfizer, the country is set to receive at least 44 million doses from all of the manufacturers approved to distribute vaccines in Canada.

While deliveries will be pouring into B.C. all week, the province revealed Monday it was suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 55 years old amid concerns the vaccine is tied to a small number of rare blood clots to emerge in those who have received the jab.

About 30 such cases have been reported globally.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization also updated its guidelines Monday, recommending the country suspend use of the vaccine for anyone under the age of 55.
The B.C. government’s immunization plan sought to immunize 320,000 essential workers outside of their age group using the AstraZeneca vaccine.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said more details about how the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine will affect vaccination plans for essential workers would be revealed in the coming days.

“It is possible that we may need to use the vaccine in people where we know this rare event is not likely to happen,” she said on Monday, referring to those over 55 years old. 

Just under 612,000 British Columbians — or 14.2% of those eligible to be vaccinated — have received at least one dose of a vaccine as of Monday.

torton@biv.com

@reporton