Canada will not receive any shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week as a result of the company upgrading its Belgium facilities.
Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, the vice-president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said that this week’s shipment will be almost 20 per cent smaller than expected.
Fortin, who made the remarks at a federal press conference on Tuesday (Jan. 19) said however that Pfizer is still planning to deliver four million doses of its vaccine by the end of March, as previously promised. Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that Canada will instead see an increase in February doses to make up for January shortfalls.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country has now seen 23 cases of the fast-spreading U.K. variant of the virus, and two cases of the South African variant.
Tam said that the spread of more infectious variants, such as the U.K. one, could make it harder to achieve herd immunity through vaccination. She said that with the current level of infectiousness in Canada, 60 to 70 per cent of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity but.
“Having said that, if you had virus variants more transmissible you may have to have more vaccine coverage to achieve population immunity,” Tam said.
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