Alberta out of vaccine; B.C. short 60,000 shots

Alberta and B.C. will temporarily stop vaccinations against COVID-19 within days as Canada reports a 650,000-dose shortfall

Western Investor
January 19, 2021

Delays in production being seen across Canada.| Getty images
— Delays in production being seen across Canada.| Getty images

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday, January 18, that the province will run out of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, resulting in the province temporarily halting giving out more first doses of the vaccine. 

"By the end of the day, or early tomorrow, Albertans will have no more vaccine doses in storage to administer as first doses to Albertans," Kenney said. 

"We have quite simply run out of supply."

The reason, according to Health Canada, is the Pfizer vaccine has been reduced for several weeks due to the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing facility scaling up to meet demand, which will result in a short period of shutdown on the vaccine supply. 

All countries that receive vaccines from the European facility will be facing the same delay. 

The federal government estimates the total shortfall will total about 650,000 doses.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry cautioned January 18 that the delays will be felt beginning the final week of January and continue for the following two weeks after that.

“The supply comes back up again very quickly,” Henry said during a media briefing.

“It’s not a matter of months, it’s a matter of weeks.”

She said the shortfall will add up to 60,000 doses over three weeks — or about half of what was expected — before being made up in March.

Tyler Shandro, Alberta minister of health, said Canada will only receive 20 per cent of the previously expected Pfizer vaccine this week, followed by a reduction of 80 per cent for one week and 50 per cent in the two weeks after. 

Shandro said the delay will slow down the immunization process of priority health care workers in Phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out plan, along with seniors over the age of 75 and all Indigenous seniors living on reserve over the of 65.

Kenney said by Monday seniors in all of Alberta's 375 long-term care and designated supported living facilities had received their first round of vaccinations, but further vaccinations of Phase 1 groups will be delayed. 

"This means the planned vaccination of First Nations and Métis individuals over the age of 65, and seniors broadly over the age of 75, has been put on hold," Kenney said. 


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