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Canada confirmed Friday that future deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine will come from the United States, instead of Europe, signaling that the company may now be manufacturing a sufficient supply of its vaccine for the US.
Canadian officials said Friday that Pfizer is on track to significantly increase vaccine supply to Canada in the coming weeks with at least 2 million doses being delivered every week for the next two months.
“As of May 3rd the Canadian supply of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will come from its manufacturing site in Kalamazoo, Michigan,” said Anita Anand, Canada’s minister in charge of vaccine procurement, during a news conference Friday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference Friday that at least 50 million doses in total will have arrived in Canada by the end of June, enough to give 2 doses to about 75% of Canadian adults. The number of doses that are expected to be delivered in Canada over the next month will nearly equal the total number delivered in the last 5 months.
Despite accelerated deliveries and distribution, public health officials say it’s “too early to celebrate” and vaccines will do little to help provinces currently struggling to stem infections during a tough third wave of the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness continues to rise,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.
Worrying increases in intensive care unit admissions have been a reality in many provinces this week including in the provinces of Ontario and Alberta.
Alberta set a pandemic record this week for new, daily Covid-19 cases and intensive care admissions were also at pandemic highs.
The province announced tighter restrictions Thursday and said it was considering a curfew.
Ontario also continues to struggle with hospital capacity, setting a record earlier this week for critical care patients and new, daily case counts seem to have plateaued at a very high level.
Federal officials say the news on vaccines is good, but restrictions on social gatherings, stay-at-home orders and business closures will be necessary for weeks to come.
“We need to be laser focused on two main things for community transmission in Canada, it’s keeping up with the public health measures and vaccinating as many Canadians as possible, that’s it, simple,” said Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo.
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