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Ottawa secures another 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer

Latest order doubles the number of Pfizer doses earmarked for Canada
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Pfizer vaccine arrives in B.C. in December.

The federal government has locked down another order of 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq:BNTX).

The latest order – expected to start arriving between April and June — doubles the previous 20 million doses Ottawa had secured from Pfizer.

“We are on track to have every Canadian who wants a vaccine receive one by September,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a Tuesday (January 12) media briefing.

“On top of that, we will of course continue to work to get even more vaccines delivered as soon as we can.”

Six million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are due to arrive in the country by the end of March, meaning 34 million additional doses are expected to arrive within the six months between April and September.

Ottawa had also previously secured an order of 40 million doses of the competing Moderna Inc. (NYSE:MRNA).

With a total of 80 million doses between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, the federal government has officially locked down enough doses to inoculate everyone in the country (the vaccines require two doses).

However, other vaccines that are easier to transport and cheaper to obtain are either undergoing clinical trials or else awaiting regulatory approval.

“We are very confident in being able to meet the September deadline we’ve laid out in terms of getting everyone who wants a vaccine vaccinated in Canada. But obviously, if we can do it even quicker than that, that would be great news. The quicker everyone gets vaccinated, the quicker we’re going to be able to get back to a semblance of normality,” Trudeau said.

The announcement of the new Pfizer order comes the same day as a small federal cabinet shuffle that saw Marc Garneau take over from François-Philippe Champagne as foreign affairs minister, while the latter takes over Navdeep Bains’ role of innovation minister.

Bains, who had told Trudeau he did not wish to run in the next federal election, will remain a Liberal MP.

The mini-shuffle is fuelling speculation a spring election is likely amid a Liberal-led minority government.

During the briefing, Trudeau wouldn’t commit to avoid triggering an election before all Canadians were inoculated.

“My commitment is doing whatever is necessary to support Canadians through this pandemic,” he said.

A day prior to Ottawa securing the latest 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed that all of the province’s allocation of the Pfizer vaccine would be used up by end of day Monday.

The province is still set to receive 28,275 doses of the vaccine the week of January 11-17 and the two weeks to follow, according to data released Monday by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

B.C. will see the number of weekly deliveries jump to 49,725 doses beginning the week of February 1-7. That number will remain steady for the three weeks to follow through to February 28.

Moderna is still ramping up its deliveries to B.C. with 20,700 doses set to arrive the week of January 11-17.

The government is not forecasting additional doses until the week of February 1-7, when 28,500 doses are expected to arrive.

That will be followed by with the arrival of 31,000 doses the week of February 22-28.

B.C. has received 71,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses as of January 7 — 50,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 29,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

torton@biv.com

@reporton