Canada is seeing an upsurge in vaccines distributed across the country, with numbers making up more than double of what was allocated in the last two weeks.
As of Feb. 21, Canada has made a total of 1,850,000 doses available nation-wide. This is approximately 400,000 more doses than what was distributed to provinces and territories the week of Feb. 14 and doubling what has been distributed in the first two weeks of February.
In the past five days, Canada received even more shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a Friday briefing that Canada has now received a total of 643,000 doses, making it the largest week of shipments to date.
Feb. 18 saw the highest ramp-up in vaccine distribution, having more than 305,000 doses delivered in a single day. Canada had just a little over 91,000 doses distributed the day before.
“We’ve been on hold for so long. We’re coming off hold now, and we really have to put our money where our mouth is. We have to do this right, we have to do this ethically, and we have to do this fast,” said Kerry Bowman, bioethics and global health professor at the University of Toronto, in an interview with CTVNews.ca. “It’s almost March and we still have not vaccinated senior citizens living in the community, so we really need to target [them].”
To date, over two million doses have been distributed across Canada, with a majority of doses being the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. All provinces have been receiving shipments of both the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, whereas territories only receive the Moderna vaccine. As of Feb. 26, 84 per cent of doses received by the two pharmaceutical companies have been administered to the Canadian population.
Canada is expecting to receive approximately 444,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine each week in March, which will follow the pharmaceutical company’s commitment of providing four million doses by the end of the first quarter.
“We’ve really got a huge responsibility right now to use these vaccines as efficiently and as ethically as we possibly can,” said Bowman. “The death rate will start to come down as we protect more and more vulnerable people like the older Canadians, the people with medical vulnerabilities and social vulnerabilities. We need to get them protected.”
With the rise of vaccine shipments and Health Canada approving the AstraZeneca vaccine Friday, Trudeau says that Canada is on track to receiving a total of 6.5 million doses by the end of March, and that vaccines will continue to arrive faster heading into the spring.