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Canada’s vaccine supply ramping up as Johnson & Johnson shipment arrives


OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Federal officials say there will be a massive ramp-up of COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada starting next week.

On Thursday, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is responsible for the rollout of vaccines across the country, provided the latest dose distribution numbers, adding the increased supply will allow provinces to expedite their plans to get shots in arms.

“If you look at what we have received to date, and distributed —  which is approximately 15 million doses since we started in December — what you will see between now and the first week of June is about the same amount,” he explained.

“We are set to receive 2 million doses weekly from Pfizer-BioNtech. In June, this is expected to increase to 2.4 million doses a week. This quarter, that will bring the total expected Pfizer- BionNTech doses to more than 24 million. Provinces have been planning on a significant increase in vaccines from June onwards, that’s been accelerated.”

Moderna is also trying to finalize details on a more steady stream of shots after weeks of disruptions, and there are no firm dates on the next AstraZeneca shipment.

However, on Wednesday the first shipment — 300,000 doses — of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

“Vaccines arrived last night, they will go through the thawing process, and be prepared for use. Once shipments are repackaged, deliveries will start to provinces, and this is expected at the beginning of next week,” Fortin said.

“The ramping up of the vaccine rollout continues with the arrival in country of another vaccine, and this allows more and more Canadians to get vaccinated quickly and efficiently.”

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is expected to release its recommendations for the shot before doses are shipped to the provinces for distribution.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said almost all doses received to date have been administered.

As of today, more than 13 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada, of those, more than 2 million people have received their shot during the last week,” he said.

Njoo also provided updated information on adverse effects — saying there have been 600 instances overall, including seven cases of rare blood clots, one resulting in death.

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