The federal government expects to receive about 7.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week as it adjusts its distribution strategy amid declining vaccination rates and substantial supply.

The new deliveries will include about 3.1 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and four million doses of Moderna.

“In the coming weeks, we will cross a symbolic threshold of 66 million doses, indicating that there are enough doses in Canada to vaccinate all currently eligible Canadians,” the Brigadier General said. Krista Brodie said Thursday at a virtual press conference from Ottawa.

Brodie, who oversees the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, said Canada is moving toward a “more nuanced” approach as supply of doses is about to outstrip demand.

More than two million doses of the vaccine are already being withheld because the provinces have said they cannot use them yet, he said.

The move marks a change in the initial strategy of shipping doses across the country as quickly as possible after arrival.

“As we move from a limited supply to a sufficient supply, we are implementing a more nuanced approach to ensure that vaccines are delivered in a way that best supports Canada’s long-lasting domestic needs, as well as optimizes options to support efforts. global vaccination, “said Brodie. .

Provinces can draw more doses than the reserved amount when and if they need it.

Canada’s vaccination rate remains one of the highest in the world, but it is starting to decline as the pool of people still seeking a first or second dose dwindles.

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As of Friday, nearly 79 percent of eligible Canadians had received at least one dose of a vaccine and more than 50 percent were fully vaccinated.

Canada has already said it plans to donate the remaining 17.7 million doses in expected shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVAX global vaccine exchange alliance.

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Those doses will be shipped to developing countries that are nowhere near the level of immunization that Canada enjoys. In Africa, about three percent of the population have received at least one dose and 1.4 percent are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, warned countries like Canada, where vaccines are high and the burden of cases under control, to remember that the pandemic is not over.

On Thursday, the WHO reported that the number of COVID-19 deaths in Africa rose 43 percent over the past week as the Delta variant continued its devastating spread.

Several provinces indicated Thursday that they had to destroy some doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that expired on July 1 before they could be used. Health Canada had already extended the expiration date for those doses by one month.

Ontario’s Health Ministry said Thursday it had 3,190 doses of AstraZeneca that would be destroyed, Prince Edward Island said it was destroying 3,200 doses and New Brunswick 960.

Demand for AstraZeneca plummeted in May after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were preferred because they were not associated with the rare but serious side effects of blood clots potentially related to AstraZeneca. .

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Canada has yet to say whether or when it will donate any doses of Pfizer or Moderna.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said 95 million doses of the two vaccines will be delivered by the end of September. That’s at least 20 million more doses than Canada could use even if 100 percent of Canadians chose to get fully vaccinated.

Most polls suggest that around 80 percent of Canadians will be vaccinated. Vaccines are not currently licensed for children under the age of 12, although there is hope that vaccine trials in younger children will be complete by late summer.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said on Thursday that Canada will maintain sufficient doses to guarantee supply for the youngest children when they are eligible. There are about 4.8 million children in Canada under the age of 12.

“We will never do anything that jeopardizes our ability to quickly and safely have access to all the vaccines necessary to immunize any eligible Canadian,” LeBlanc said.

This Canadian Press report was first published on July 19, 2021.

This story was produced with financial assistance from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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