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Fortin: Canada on track to receive 4M doses of Pfizer vaccine by end of March

Last Updated Jan 28, 2021 at 1:25 pm EDT

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2021, file photo Pharmacist Brian Kiefer draws saline while preparing a dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, Pool, File)

The man overseeing the country’s national vaccine rollout says Canada is getting 149,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine over the next two weeks.

That’s only one-fifth of what had been promised before the company slowed production in a bid to ramp up operations in Belgium.

However, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says he has been assured by Pfizer that Canada will get the 4 million doses promised by the end of March. Fortin says the numbers are calculated using five doses per vial. Health Canada has not yet made a decision about whether it will amend the label on the vaccine to say it always contains at least six doses.

Arianne Reza, an associate deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada, says Canada has a supply of the special, low-dead volume needles needed to extract six doses from vials of Pfizer’s vaccine.

But she says there will be two million arriving in Canada next week, part of a new order for 37.5 million of the syringes.

Canada has been saying for several weeks that the shipments would return to normal in mid-February, but Fortin now says Pfizer is sending 335,000 doses the week of Feb. 15, which is still only 91 per cent of the previous delivery schedule.

Earlier in the day Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said the feds had lowered their estimates for total Pfizer vaccines in-hand by end of March from four million to 3.5 million.

But Fortin says Canada had given the provinces more conservative figures for planning purposes.