Ottawa has purchased an additional 20 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total doses expected on Canadian soil by September to 40 million.
“With this news, we are getting even closer to our goal, which is to offer vaccines to all Canadians by the fall,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Tuesday, at a press briefing in front of his residence at Rideau Cottage.
Sending 20 million additional doses is possible since Canada has options, in its agreement with Pfizer, to receive up to 56 million more doses of the pharmaceutical vaccine co-developed with BioNTech. This agreement guaranteed a minimum of 20 million doses.
“The reason why we chose to use our options for [un autre] 20 million doses is that we were able to have assurance from the supplier that most of it would arrive in the second and third quarter, ”said Supply Minister Anita Anand.
Thus, these doses should start arriving in April, for deliveries until September.
The minister also indicated that two million doses which were only planned for the third quarter of 2021 (July to September) will finally arrive between April and June.
“We want to make sure that any decision to use our options [pour des doses supplémentaires] is linked to early deliveries, ”added the Minister.
Note that Tuesday’s news has no impact on the number of people who can be vaccinated by the end of March. Ottawa still expects to receive enough doses of Moderna and Pfizer to inoculate three million Canadians.
Then the goal is that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can have received at least a first dose by the end of September.
“We keep the objective of September […] and we are confident we will be able to achieve it, but we are certainly working to accelerate that deadline, ”said Mr. Trudeau.
The border between Canada and the United States will remain closed to non-essential travel at least until February 21, also announced Justin Trudeau.
As a reminder, the border between Canada and the United States was closed by decree on March 21 because of the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Since then, this closure has been renewed several times by a joint decision of the two countries.
Since March, it is no longer possible, with rare exceptions, to travel between the two countries. The Canada-US border remains open in particular for the transport of goods.
Canada is trying to protect itself, because the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the United States particularly hard.