Canada Running Short of Vaccines Despite No. 1 Ranking in Orders

Justin Trudeau’s government sought to assure the public it’s trying to speed up delivery of Covid-19 vaccines amid pressure from health authorities who say they’re running low on shots.

Canada has ordered more doses per capita than any other country -- reserving at least 214 million shots for 38 million people -- and was the second country after the U.K. to approve the vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. It has also authorized Moderna Inc.’s shot.

So far, Canada has vaccinated less than 0.7% of the population, compared to 1.9% in the U.S. and 2.2% in the U.K., according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. Officials in a number of provinces, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, have said they’ll be out of doses if more don’t arrive soon.

“We are all on the same page of the urgency of this situation. And we will stop at nothing to ensure that we get vaccines here as early as possible,” federal Public Services Minister Anita Anand said at a press conference Friday.

The government is in discussions with vaccine suppliers to try to accelerate deliveries, Anand said. However, most of Canada’s orders are from pharma companies whose shots have not been approved yet. It has ordered 52 million doses of the candidate from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc vaccine that’s been delayed, for example.

“We have been clear that we will be ramping up with the doses that we are delivering to the provinces. In fact we will be doubling the vaccine deliveries from January to February alone,” she said.

Canada is on track to receive about 2 million Moderna doses and 4 million Pfizer doses by the end of March, said Major-General Dany Fortin, who is leading the logistics effort for the government. That would be enough to vaccinate about 8% of the population.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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