Covid-19 Shots on Track to Ramp Up in Canada Despite Slow Start

Canada has begun to accelerate its vaccine rollout after delivery disruptions became a major political headache for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In an update by public-health officials Thursday, the government announced the pace of deliveries of both the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. shots is ramping up as of this week.

As many as 14.5 million of Canada’s 38 million people should be inoculated by the end of June, according to an updated timeline, up from the 13 million the government expected previously. Should vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc. win regulatory approval, the tally could climb to 24.5 million.

Covid-19 Shots on Track to Ramp Up in Canada Despite Slow Start

Canada has administered shots to just 3.5% of its population so far, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. That puts it behind all but Japan -- which didn’t start offering jabs until this week -- among Group of Seven nations. The U.K. and U.S. are at the head of the pack, inoculating 24.7% and 17.3% of their citizens to date.

Trudeau, who is weighing weather to trigger an election this year to win back his parliamentary majority, has repeatedly promised every Canadian who wants a vaccine will receive one by the end of September.

Anxious Provinces

Canada received more than 403,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot this week, health officials said, with 475,000 doses expected for the week of Feb. 22. The company is set to deliver 444,000 doses every week in March, for a total of 4 million shots by the end of the first quarter.

Moderna will ship the country 168,000 doses next week and a further 1.3 million by the end of March, spread out over two deliveries.

Provinces have been getting impatient with the delivery delays, which were caused in part by vaccine nationalism in both the U.S. and Europe. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he’s anxious to unveil plans for mass vaccination, including which locations have been picked for them.

“We’re just missing the vaccines,” the premier told reporters in Quebec City Thursday. “I have a phone call tonight with Mr. Trudeau and I’ll ask him again about how many doses will we receive each week in the next few weeks.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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