Moderna confirms 2 million more COVID-19 shots will arrive by the week of June 14

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said today that vaccine maker Moderna has confirmed two million more doses will arrive in Canada over the next two weeks, with “millions” more to follow at the end of June.

Even with that new commitment, Moderna is still a long way from keeping its promise to deliver 12.3 million doses in the April-through-June period.

The Massachusetts-based company has been tight-lipped in recent weeks about how many shots it will send to Canada as it grapples with production issues at plants in Europe.

Anand said 500,000 doses will be delivered over the week of May 31, with 1.5 million more to follow sometime before June 14.

Until today, the federal government has said it’s been unable to provide a firm delivery schedule — beyond a commitment that “millions” of Moderna shots would arrive in the coming months.

Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, the military officer in charge of vaccine logistics, said last week that Canada may receive fewer doses than originally expected because of ongoing production delays.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Anand had said that between 48 and 50 million shots from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer would be delivered by the end of June. Brodie said last week that the figure is now likely closer to 40 million.

Moderna has pledged to send 14.3 million doses to Canada in the first six months of this year. So far, it has delivered just 5.6 million.

Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada Anita Anand oversees the off-loading of COVID-19 vaccines from a cargo aircraft with members of Canadian Border Services Agency in Montreal on Sunday, December 13, 2020. (The Canadian Press/HO-Canadian Armed Forces-Cpl Matthew Tower)

The new deliveries announced Thursday bring the total number of doses delivered and confirmed shipments to 7.6 million, meaning the company will have to send 6.7 million shots in the last two weeks of June to meet its contractual obligations. Moderna has never shipped that many shots to Canada in a two-week period.

Anand said Moderna has promised to “ramp up” its deliveries in the last half of June. “We will provide further updates as additional deliveries are confirmed by the company,” Anand said in a media statement, adding that Canada is still on track to administer first vaccine doses to all who want one by the end of June.

The mRNA shot from the Massachusetts-based company is the second-most frequently used COVID-19 vaccine product in Canada.

The company — which had never before brought a drug to market — has had trouble meeting insatiable global demand for its vaccine.

While Canada was among the first countries to sign a procurement deal with Moderna, the company has had to cancel shipments or punt deliveries to later dates as it has struggled with production issues.

Because the U.S. government invested heavily in the early research and development of this product, Moderna had to send a certain number of doses to the American marketplace — an obligation that has resulted in reduced shipments to other countries.

The company, which has few facilities on its own, relies on third-party finish-and-fill companies to churn out its product and ship it overseas.

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