A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Coming week will see trickle of COVID-19 vaccine doses before floodgates open

Officials says Canada will soon begin to receive more than 1 million doses over a seven-day period

The Public Health Agency of Canada is expecting a smaller-than-normal shipment of COVID-19 vaccines this week, with fewer than 445,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech shots scheduled for delivery over the next seven days.

Yet that seeming trickle is set to explode into a full-blown flood starting the week of March 22 as the companies dramatically ramp up their deliveries and other pharmaceutical firms start making good on their own promised shipments.

The Public Health Agency says this coming week will be the last in which Canada will receive fewer than 1 million doses over a seven-day period. Pfizer and BioNTech alone are on tap to deliver more than that each week for the foreseeable future.

Canada is also expected to start receiving more shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine starting in April, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose inoculation. Those are in addition to the bi-weekly delivery of doses from Moderna, the next of which is scheduled for the week of March 22.

Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday that Canada is on track to receive 7 million vaccine doses from the various companies by the end of April, with a total of 36.5 million delivered by the end of June and 118 million before Sept. 30.

This week’s expected lull comes amid a report that more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Canada as of Sunday, according to COVID19tracker.ca, with more than six per cent of the population having received a dose.

The coming week is also expected to see Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization release new guidance on the AstraZeneca vaccine for seniors after initially discouraging their use for older residents.

Those vaccines have been under the spotlight over the past week amid concerns within some European countries about alleged links to blood clots, though Canadian officials have said there is no scientific evidence to support such a link.

“There’s not a good biological explanation about why a vaccine of this type, injected into a muscle, would cause that kind of adverse event,” Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma told The Canadian Press last week.

Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Bulgaria are among almost a dozen European nations that paused the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine last week — either entirely or specific batches — after reports of some patients developing blood clots afterward. Ireland joined the list on Sunday.

None of those countries’ health officials said there was evidence of a link, but rather they were pausing use of the product out of an abundance of caution pending a review.

AstraZeneca released a statement on Sunday saying a review of 17 million patients who received the shot in Europe and the United Kingdom showed no elevated risk of blood clotting.

Ann Taylor, the company’s chief medical officer, said there’s no increased risk of either pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia in any age group, gender, batch of vaccines or country.

The company said there are reports of 15 patients experiencing deep-vein thrombosis and 22 pulmonary embolisms as of March 8, which is much lower than what would occur naturally in a population of more than 17 million people.

Germany, France, Poland, Nigeria and the United Kingdom are all among the countries joining Canada in sticking with AstraZeneca injections.

READ MORE: Why is there no COVID vaccine for kids yet? A B.C. researcher breaks it down

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The pandemic seems to be a warning sign that humans are stretching the limts of our planet’s ability to support life, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Planet’s limits stretched

Let’s leave nature intact for future generations, says letter writer

A forested area of the Notch trail at Fairwinds Lakes District park in Nanoose Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
Editorial: Don’t wait for pandemic to end to protect planet

This Earth Day, April 22, think about ways to protect the environment and combat climate change

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Nanaimo-to-Victoria route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two more COVID-19 cases identified as part of outbreak at Nanaimo hospital

Island Health says outbreak remains contained to one unit and the ‘hospital is still a safe place’

Beef. I noticed a man who had apparently toppled out of his wheelchair and was lying on Boundary Avenue near the hospital’s emergency department. I was shocked as numerous people casually walked by and ignored him. Thank you to the kind gentleman and others who did stop to offer help.
Beefs & Bouquets, April 21

To submit a bouquet or a beef to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Most Read