Canada passed on 16 million Moderna coronavirus vaccine doses due to timeline: minister

WATCH: Vaccinations to ‘scale up’ in February, Trudeau says

Canada passed on an option to acquire an additional 16 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine because they wouldn’t be delivered until after the government hopes to have the entire population vaccinated.

“If the Government of Canada exercised the option to acquire the 16 million doses beyond our existing purchase of 40 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, those 16 million would not have arrived until the end of 2021,” the office of Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in an emailed statement.

“Therefore, they would not have contributed to Canada’s objective relating to the vaccination of every Canadian who choose to be vaccinated by the end of September 2021.”

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Moderna confirmed the news, saying it “could not commit to providing more doses before the Canadian government’s self-imposed deadline for full vaccination of September 2021.”

However, according to the Procurement Canada, the country “retains the ability to negotiate for additional doses if it chooses to do so.”

To date, Canada has secured 60 million doses of the two approved coronavirus vaccines — enough to vaccinate 30 million Canadians.

Both vaccines, one from Pfizer-BioNTech and the other from Moderna, each require two doses to reach 95 per cent efficacy against the virus.

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Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country is “on track” to deliver approximately 1.3 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of the month.

“Quantities of both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine will scale up in February,” he said. “Remember that Canada has the most vaccines secured per capita in the world which means that by September we will have enough vaccines for every Canadian who wants one.”

On Monday, the federal government published its vaccine delivery list, which features forecasted shipment dates that outline exactly how many doses of each vaccine provinces and territories can expect, and when.

According to Health Canada, a total of 548,950 doses of the two approved vaccines have been distributed across the country.

— With files from Global News’ Mike Le Couteur and Rachel Gilmore

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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