Canada is expected to obtain an additional 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine before the end of March, thanks to a dose-sharing deal that is being finalized today "as we speak,” Trudeau announced.
This delivery delivery will lift Canada’s total vaccine supply for the first three months of 2021 to 9.5 million COVID-19 vaccines. That's 3.5 million more than the government initially predicted.
“We are finalizing an agreement on this with the American administration as we speak,” Trudeau told reporters. “Canada and the U.S. are each other’s closest friends and most important allies. I know we’ll continue working to keep Canadians and Americans safe, beat this virus, and rebuild strong, thriving economies together.”
The AstraZeneca shot is approved in Canada and other countries like Mexico, but not by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki announced yesterday that there are about seven million doses in the U.S. ready for use to be shipped abroad.
To date, the federal government has delivered more than 4.7 million vaccine doses to the provinces and territories, around 77 per cent of which have been administered.
Canada will continue to receive shipments of vaccines in the coming months in order to fulfill Trudeau's promise to immunize everyone who wants to be vaccinated by the end of September (at latest).
“Looking ahead, Canada is on track to receive a total of 36.5 million vaccines by the end of June, and 118 million doses by the end of September,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.
Given the spread of the variants, Chief PHO Theresa Tam has warned about speeding up the vaccination process as much as possible. "“We have to remind everyone that less than 10 per cent of Canadians have received a vaccine, and they’re mostly people of course in the higher risk groups,” Tam said. “It is a really tricky situation because of the spread occurring in the younger age groups, while they are the ones waiting further down the line to get vaccinated… We have to try as get as many vaccines as fast as possible into the whole population.”