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Moderna to ship 2M vaccine doses to Canada by week of June 14

Last Updated May 27, 2021 at 3:16 pm EDT

mRNA vaccine, 2021. Spencer Davis

Moderna will ship 500,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Canada next week, and another 1.5-million doses the week of June 14.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced the confirmed shipments today.

She says Moderna is still promising to send millions of more doses next month but there is no clarity on how many or when.

“The next Moderna delivery includes 500,000 doses to arrive during the week of May 31 in two parts,” Anand said Thursday.

“The initial shipment is expected to arrive in Canada during the first part of next week.”

The Massachusetts-based company has been struggling with its production lines and deliveries this spring have been lagging.

Initially, Moderna intended to send 12.3 million doses between April and June but has shipped less than one-third of those to date.

It’s confirmed shipments will get it close to half the way there.

Moderna owes the country at least 6.7-million doses before the end of June.

“Canada remains very much on track to receive vaccines for eligible Canadians to have their first dose by the end of June, with the administration of second doses underway,” Anand said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the push from Canadians to get inoculated on Tuesday, saying more than half our total population has received at least one dose.

“We now rank number three in the G-20 in doses administered per capita,” said the Prime Minister.

In mid-May, it was confirmed that Canada is expecting nine million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in July. Prior to then, Canada is anticipating another shipment of twelve million Pfizer doses in June.

Shipments will range from 2 to 2.5 million doses of Pfizer per week starting from the beginning of June to the end of July.

Meantime, thousands of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are set to expire in a few days, and the federal government is urging provinces to get them into arms before that happens.

Moderna vs. Pfizer: There is some confusion

Experts have noticed a turn with some Canadians mistaking the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as inferior to its Pfizer-BioNTech counterpart despite the similar effectiveness of both jabs.

Science communicator Samantha Yammine has received a lot of questions lately about Moderna and she thinks it has to do with a familiarity bias.

“It’s the familiarity principle,” said Yammine. “The more you hear about something, the more familiar it becomes, the more you believe certain things about it to be true. And because we have so much more Pfizer in Canada, many more people that someone knows probably got Pfizer.”

Experts say both Pfizer and Moderna offer similarly high levels of protection against infection and severe COVID-19 disease.

“There is definitely a familiarity bias because our supply has been dominated by Pfizer,” Yammine added.

“… I think we should be wary of that familiarity bias in Canada, which has everything to do with our supply and nothing to do with the actual quality of the vaccines.”