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79-thousand doses of Pfizer vaccine expected to arrive by first week of Feb., feds say

Last Updated Jan 21, 2021 at 8:34 pm EDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The federal government is providing an update on COVID-19 vaccine deliveries after Pfizer cut its distribution to Canada and other countries.

Major Gen. Dany Fortin, who is in charge of the country’s vaccine distribution, says this week we only saw a 20 percent reduction in our shipments but the big decline is expected to take place in the days ahead.

“To be clear, there will be no supply of vaccines next week, the week of Jan. 25,” Fortin said on Thursday.

“Pfizer informed us this morning that we can expect around 79,000 doses for the first week of February. So despite this bump on the road, Pfizer continues to assure us that they’re on track to meet the total allocation of four-million doses to Canada by the end of March.”

The disruption is due to upgrades at Pfizer’s European facility.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, Trudeau has been under pressure to call Bourla, as the delayed doses force provinces to cancel vaccination appointments and reconsider timing for second doses.

Since mid-December, Canada has received just over one million doses of the vaccine. The government expects to have enough doses for every Canadian by September, with the Prime Minister maintaining that anyone who wants a vaccine by that month, will be able to get one.

As of January 20, and with the delays in consideration, Canada projects it will be able to vaccinate around 8 percent of the population by the end of March.

Earlier on Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he spoke directly with the CEO of Pfizer about this critical supply shortage of their vaccine.

Ford also made a public plea to newly-inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden, saying he hopes the U.S. will share some of the vaccines from the Pfizer plant in Michigan.

On Tuesday, the federal government said it was expecting a 75 percent reduction in deliveries due to capacity upgrades at Pfizer’s European plant, something Fortin and Premier Ford recognize is discouraging.

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