OTTAWA – With 3.8 million COVID – 19 vaccine doses delivered to date and weeks coming where there will be more than a million doses landing at a time, Canada has entered the much-anticipated ramp-up phase in the national mass immunization campaign.
That’s according to Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military general in charge of the logistical end of the vaccine rollout.
“It was identified in our plan that there would come a point that might align with Q2, that the second phase of our distribution or immunization plan would kick in, and that second phase is characterized by additional vaccines coming online and volume, a significant increase in quantities into the million a week. That’s very much where we are at this week, ”Fortin said. “I would carefully say that we’m stepping into Phase 2 today.”
At a technical briefing updating the status of Canada’s vaccination effort, Fortin outlined the details of the coming shipments from the currently approved vaccine manufacturers.
- 444, 600 doses being delivered next week
- Nearly 1.2 million doses the weeks of March 22 and March 29
- Just over one million doses the weeks of April 5 and April 12
- 846, 000 doses the week of March 22
- 855, doses the week of April 5
- More than one million doses the week of April 19
Through India’s Serum Institute, Canada will be receiving one million AstraZeneca Covishield doses somet ime in April as well as 444, doses sometime in May to complete that contract for a total of two million doses. More AstraZeneca shots should start to roll off the production line and into Canada from the separate Oxford-AstraZeneca contract for 19 million doses sometime in April as well as the 1.9 million shots through COVAX.
Timing and size of shipments of the recently-approved Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine have yet to be confirmed as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the federal government has been warned of production issues.
In an effort to ensure all provinces and territories are ready for the ramp-up and all delivery lines are in place and clear for the coming shipments that are now being sent to more administration sites, Fortin led a rehearsal with more than 180 participants. Something similar was done in December just before the first vaccine doses arrived.
Fortin said that as part of the exercise, provincial representatives and Indigenous partners talked about reaching racialized and marginalized populations, challenges around scheduling appointments, and ensuring there are enough health-care workers to run the growing number of vaccine administration sites.
“We can see that we are well on track to receive a significant quantity of vaccines by the end of June , and that’s the information that we’re planning against right now, ”Fortin said. “Provinces and territories are positioned to immunize their people at a good cadence, with that flow, with that predictability of quantities over time.”
In total, by the end of June Canada is on track to receive 29. 5 million doses and by the end of September a total of 36. 9 million doses of currently-approved vaccines.