Approved COVID-19 vaccines not enough to inoculate all Canadians by September: Anand
Canada has currently given doses to fewer than 250,000 people.
Federal procurement minister Anita Anand says Canada will do “whatever it takes” to get more vaccine doses delivered to Canada faster but there hasn’t yet been any change to the number of doses Canada is expecting to receive this winter and approvals for additional vaccines are still at least several weeks away.
Anand said Canada had already put a number of offers on the table to vaccine makers to get more deliveries faster, including upping the price per dose.
“We convey to the vaccine suppliers that we will do whatever it takes to get vaccines into this country and to do so as early as possible,” Anand said at a regular pandemic briefing to Canadians on Jan. 8.
Canada has approved two vaccines and is currently scheduled to receive four million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and another two million from Moderna before the end of March. That is the same delivery plan that has existed since November.
Reports say Israel — which signed a contract with Pfizer in mid-November, more than three months after Canada did — paid twice as much per dose, and is getting that vaccine much faster. Israel has vaccinated more than 1.5 million people already, mostly with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.
Canada has given doses to fewer than 250,000 people.
Canada’s contracts with vaccine makers have not yet been made public but Anand said on Jan. 8 that Canada paid fair market value for the doses.
Reports have put the European price for Pfizer’s product somewhere between C$18 and C$24 and the United States’s at about C$25.
Moderna has previously said it is charging CDN $40 to $47 per dose.
Anand did not elaborate much on what else Canada is doing to urge faster deliveries of the hottest commodities in the world, other than to suggest Canada isn’t going to follow the United Kingdom and delay a second dose of the vaccines in a bid to get more people a first dose faster.
“It’s important from a procurement perspective to remember also, that as we press for additional deliveries on an accelerated basis, we need to be able to show to the vaccine companies that Canada is indeed following the instructions that a second dose be administered in a certain time frame,” said Anand.
Canada expects to vaccinate three million people by the end of March, 15 million to 19 million people by the end of June, and all 38 million Canadians by the end of September.