Canada is going to receive hundreds of thousands fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine than originally thought and Alberta's Health Minister is bashing the federal government, saying it is failing Canadians.
Despite promises from the federal government that, regardless of delays from Pfizer, Canada was still on track to receive four million doses of the vaccine by the end of March. Now, the delivery by that time is only expected to be 3.5 million with Alberta being told that we would receive 63,000 fewer doses in the first quarter of the year.
The reduced deliveries are partly due to production delays at Pfizer's Belgium production facility. The company is scaling up capacity at the plant, a move they claimed would impact vaccine production for a short period.
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued the following statement on the federal government’s handling of COVID-19 vaccine procurement. Shandro didn't mince words in putting the blame for the vaccine delays squarely on the government's shoulders when he said:
“For the third time this month, the federal government has notified us through bureaucratic channels that Alberta’s Pfizer vaccine allocation will be slashed yet again.
“At first, we were told that Alberta’s share of vaccines would be reduced between 20 and 80 percent over four weeks.
“Shortly after that, we found out that Alberta would actually receive no vaccines at all in the last week of January. At the same time, the federal government reassured us that we would receive the full 468,000 doses that Alberta had been promised by the end of March. The temporary reductions were to be made up for in the remainder of the first quarter.
“This morning, we’ve been told that Alberta will receive 63,000 fewer vaccines in the first quarter of this year. This means 63,000 more Albertans will not receive this life-saving vaccine.
“The federal government is failing Canadians. This is a grim situation that seems to be getting worse every week. We know that life for Canadians will not begin returning to something resembling normal until our most vulnerable are immunized. Prime Minister Trudeau, Health Minister Hajdu, and Public Services and Procurement Minister Anand need to come clean with Canadians and fix this now. Anything less is unacceptable.”
So far, Canada has received about 1,119,225 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines according to figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
As of January 26th, 101,123 doses have been administered in Alberta with a total of 11,362 Albertans being fully immunized with two doses.