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Canada getting surprise shipment of 1M Moderna doses from U.S.

Last Updated Jun 17, 2021 at 12:03 pm EDT

In this photo illustration a medical syringe seen in front of the Moderna multinational pharmaceutical corporation logo. Netherlands, November 29, 2020. Photo by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM hoto by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

Canada is getting an unexpected one million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand made the announcement in a tweet, saying Canada has reached an agreement with the United States government for the shots.

“I would like to thank President Biden and my counterpart Jeffrey Zients for their partnership,” says Anand in the tweet.

“We continue to work with partners around the world, including the United States, to ensure access to vaccines for Canadians, as well as to help meet demands internationally.”

Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response co-ordinator, says the shipment to Canada will arrive Thursday, following a donated shipment to Mexico on Tuesday.

The donation won’t cost Canada anything, and will be on top of the 44 million doses Canada has purchased directly from Moderna.

The unexpected doses are in addition to the nine million Moderna shots that Canada is set to receive in June.

The country was already poised to receive more than 8 million vaccine doses this week thanks to a massive infusion of shots from Moderna and a revised delivery schedule.

The Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical firm will deliver a total of 5.8 million jabs in two separate shipments this week, in addition to Thursday’s surprise delivery.

Canada’s total vaccine deliveries in June will now top 21 million doses.

The federal government has received more than 22.5 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses and nearly 2.9 million Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs, with another 1 million of the latter scheduled for delivery later this month.

Around 330,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine were also delivered, but Health Canada has decided not to distribute them over concerns they may have been tainted.

Dr. Theresa Tam said earlier this week that Canada’s vaccine rollout plan is finally bearing fruit.

“Now we’re seeing the benefits of high [vaccine] coverage, including reduced illness and death among the most vulnerable populations,” said Tam

The country is on the cusp of its hitting its first national vaccination target, but chief public health officer Dr. Tam says the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 might mean the country has to up its game again.

Federal modelling done in April and May suggested that if 75 per cent of eligible Canadians had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 20 per cent had two, provinces could safely begin easing restrictions on public movement without overwhelming hospitals again.

Over 65 per cent of Canadian have received their first dose and nearly 15 per cent are fully vaccinated.