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Canada receives 1M Moderna doses early; 2 more deaths linked to AstraZeneca

Last Updated May 5, 2021 at 11:47 am EDT

A COVID-19 vaccine is prepared in Toronto, ON (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Canada is receiving a shipment of one million Moderna vaccine doses on Wednesday, a week earlier than expected.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Tuesday at his regular COVID-19 update, saying the shipment is getting picked up in Europe on Tuesday night.

He said the doses would arrive on Canadian soil by Wednesday morning. It will mark the largest Moderna shipment to date.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Moderna is continuing to work with the federal government to come up with a more predictable delivery schedule.

That brings this weeks vaccine delivery to three million with the country also getting two million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Trudeau confirmed Canada will continue receiving two million doses from Pfizer each week in May. The country is on track to receive 2.4 million a week in June.


Meanwhile, there continues to be backlash against the most recent comments from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) as two more people in Canada have died after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

NACI said Monday that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are “preferred” and that Canadians should weigh the risks of waiting for one of them before deciding whether to take a more immediate jab of either of the other two approved for use in Canada.

The panel’s advice contradicts Health Canada’s long-standing recommendation that the best vaccine is the first one available.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health confirmed the second Canadian death linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday evening. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the woman in her 50s died from immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).

“While any death is tragic, it is important to remember that the risks of dying or suffering other severe outcomes from COVID-19 remain far greater than the risk following AstraZeneca vaccine,” says Hinshaw.

On Wednesday, New Brunswick health officials reported the province’s first death of someone who developed a blood clot after receiving the vaccine.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the individual in their 60’s received the shot in mid-April and developed symptoms a week later. She says they were admitted to hospital and died two days later.

Trudeau reiterated that every vaccine being offered is safe and works in the battle against COVID-19.

“We need to get our shots as quickly as possible,” says Trudeau. “I can reinforce once again that every single vaccine available in Canada has been approved by Health Canada as being safe and effective.”

Health officials say the risk of complications from the vaccine remains incredibly low. Hundreds of thousands of doses of AstraZeneca have been administered across the country without incident.

Health officials and the Canadian Pharmacists Association have expressed the contradicting advice will only lead to more vaccine hesitancy.

Last month, a 54-year-old woman in Quebec died from a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

With files from 680 NEWS Parliament Hill reporter Cormac Mac Sweeney and The Canadian Press.

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