Pfizer has announced that they will be shipping an extra eight million doses of their coronavirus vaccine to Canada in May through July, the federal government said on Friday.
Four million extra doses are expected to be delivered in May, while another two million are expected to be delivered in both June and July.
"I want to thank everyone at Pfizer for their cooperation and hard work, not just to keep deliveries on schedule, but to move more doses up and reach new agreements," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a press conference in Ottawa.
The announcement ultimately means that Canada will have received 23.8 million doses from Pfizer in the second quarter of 2021, six million more than initially planned.
The announcement comes as Moderna, facing production difficulties, announced that it will be cancelling the shipment of 550,000 vaccine doses to Canada which were to be delivered in April. Moderna had initially agreed to send 1.2 million doses, but will now only be sending 650,000 shots.
A shipment of Moderna vaccines which were supposed to arrive earlier this month have also been delayed. 855,000 doses were supposed to arrive on April 5, but are now only beginning to arrive nearly two weeks later.
"We are disappointed, and while we understand the challenges facing suppliers in the current global market for vaccines, our government will continue to press Moderna to fulfil its commitments," said Procurement Minister Anita Anand. "When Moderna provides additional information, we will share it as soon as it is received. We continue to press Moderna for consistency of supply to Canada."
"The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain. Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources, have factored into this volatility," a Moderna spokesman said to CBC.
Yet despite the troubles facing Moderna, Canada will still receive four million more doses than initially planned thanks to Pfizer.
While this comes as good news for Canadians, the country continues to lag far behind the United States in vaccination rates. Nearly a quarter of Americans, including two thirds of the most at-risk age groups, have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Nearly 40 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
By contrast, less than three percent of Canadians have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, while less than 20 percent have received even one dose.