Canada won’t receive vaccine shipments from Pfizer next week, but that shouldn’t affect the government’s plan to deliver six million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March, officials said Tuesday.
Last Friday, Pfizer announced it would temporarily limit shipments of the vaccine developed with BioNTech to Canada and European countries, while a plant in Belgium was being converted to increase production. The announcement sparked outrage among health officials across the European Union and heightened concerns about the slow pace of vaccinations. (The United States will not be affected. Cans for their home market will be manufactured in Kalamazoo, Michigan.)
Major General Dany Fortin, the Canadian military officer in charge of vaccine distribution, told reporters that while the change had relatively little impact on Canada this week, the company will not ship any vaccine for the last week of January. He had previously said that the programs would only be cut in half during this time. Shipments of the vaccine manufactured by Moderna to Canada are not affected.
Anita Anand, Canada’s Minister for Procurement, said that subsequent shipments of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will be increased and that the changes will not affect the government’s plan to deliver six million doses of the two vaccines over the next two months administer.
Some Canadian news outlets had suggested, based on statements from Pfizer, that shipments would normalize more quickly in Europe than in Canada. But Ms. Anand said she spoke to the company over the weekend and “made assurances of fair treatment to me and Canada.”
Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to pressure Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive officer, to increase Canada’s allotment.
“I would make phone calls every day,” Ford said at a press conference.