Montreal: Canada already had enough potential Covid-19 vaccines secured to protect a population almost four times its size. It just added another 20 million doses to the pile and accelerated its vaccination calendar.
The government doubled its order from Moderna Inc. to 40 million doses, the U.S. pharmaceutical company said Monday. And the first 249,000 doses from another supplier, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, are set to arrive next week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday, kick-starting a vaccination campaign ahead of schedule.
“The first Canadians will be vaccinated next week if we have approval from Health Canada this week,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa. “This will move us forward on our whole timeline of vaccine roll out and is a positive development in getting Canadians protected as soon as possible.”
Trudeau came under fire last month after revealing that Canada won’t be first in line for an eventual vaccine because of a lack of local manufacturing capacity. The country was due to start its vaccination campaign early in 2021, with enough supply for 3 million people at first.
Now he is ahead of schedule, and Canada is on top of global rankings for vaccine contracts. With the 20 million additional Moderna doses, Canada has secured enough to inoculate 154 million people, assuming the vaccines are cleared by health regulators.
It’s enough doses for more than 400% of its population, ahead of the U.K.’s 295% and Australia’s 269%, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.
The northern nation, however, is struggling to get a grip against a second wave of infections hitting regions that had been relatively spared when the pandemic first hit in March. New cases now exceed 6,000 a day, forcing provinces to impose fresh lockdown measures, including on the financial capital of Toronto.- Bloomberg