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Canada is on track to have one vaccine dose per adult by July 1

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says almost seven per cent of Canadians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 1.6 per cent have received two doses.

March 18, 2021  The Canadian Press

The military commander overseeing the complex logistics of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination program is almost ready to say there are enough doses coming into the country to get a first shot to all adults before Canada Day.

But Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is still reluctant to make that declaration official, as the threat of vaccine production issues still looms large over Canada’s vaccine hopes.

Officially, Canada still says Canadians will be fully vaccinated by the end of September.

Health Canada has approved four vaccines but deliveries of two are still in limbo and Fortin said he hopes to know within “a few weeks” when the first doses of Johnson & Johnson, and the 20 million doses directly from AstraZeneca, will start to arrive.

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There are however more than enough doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses coming from the Serum Institute of India, to pass the one dose per person target by the end of June.

Procurement numbers show there are 36.5 million doses confirmed to be shipped by June 30, not including any of the 20 million from AstraZeneca or 10 million from J&J.

Only people over the age of 16 can currently be vaccinated and with a population of about 31 million in that age group in Canada, the math lines up.

“If there is no disruption of vaccine delivery and there is no indication that there will be, by the end of the next quarter we will have received significant numbers of vaccines, which will allow the provinces to have in their possession, enough vaccines to administer, to vaccinate all Canadians who wish a vaccine,” he said on Mar. 18 in French at a news conference in Ottawa.

Canada’s expected deliveries in February were cut by more than two thirds when Pfizer slowed down its production in Belgium to expand its plant, and Moderna took longer than expected to ramp up production overall.

But the two companies have since caught up. Pfizer is delivering 5.5 million doses by the end of this month, 1.5 million more than required by contract. Moderna will ship 846,000 more doses next week, bringing their first quarter total to two million doses, which hits their first-quarter target.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says almost seven per cent of Canadians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 1.6 per cent have received two doses.