Canadian Manufacturing

Moderna cutting vaccine shipment to Canada next week by more than 50,000 doses

Moderna's Canadian manager said in a written statement that the delay is related to producing the "drug substance" component of the Moderna vaccine.

January 29, 2021  The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s other vaccine supplier has to cut back on its deliveries next week.

Moderna will ship only about three-quarters of the expected supply, cutting Canada’s next shipment by more than 50,000 doses.

Canada was supposed to get more than 230,000 doses from Moderna next week, but will instead get slightly fewer than 180,000.

Moderna’s Canadian manager said in a written statement that the delay is related to producing the “drug substance” component of the Moderna vaccine, which is being done by Swiss drug manufacturer Lonza in Visp, Switzerland.

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Patricia Gauthier said the delays are short term for non-U.S. clients, and the company is still able to ship its promised doses in the first three months of the year. For Canada, that is two million doses. Canada has received 340,200 doses from Moderna so far.

The U.S. shipments from Moderna are coming from plants within the United States.

“Moderna remains focused on operating at the highest level of quality to ensure the safety of the vaccine,” said Gauthier.

Lonza is creating three new production lines in Visp to make the drug components of Moderna’s vaccine. The first began production in early January and the others were to be added before the end of March.

Trudeau said as companies build the manufacturing of these vaccines from scratch delays in the early days are not unexpected.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are behind on their scheduled deliveries to European nations, but it is the latter with which Europe is having the loudest fight, demanding the company ship doses made in the United Kingdom to make up for shortfalls due to production issues in its European plants.

Trudeau spoke with von der Leyen earlier this week and he said she told him Canada’s deliveries would continue. International Trade Minister Mary Ng spoke on Jan. 28 with European trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, and said he reiterated that assurance.

The delivery news will overshadow Jan. 29’s positive vaccine development with American pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson reporting its vaccine is very good at preventing people from being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.