Pfizer-BioNTech Halts Vaccine Shipments To Canada

Canada’s problematic COVID-19 vaccine rollout is getting worse.

Health Canada has announced that it is not going to receive any vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech next week and the federal government says it still can't tell provinces exactly how many doses to expect over the coming month.

The U.S. drug maker is cutting back production at its European production facility in Belgium to upgrade capacity and increase the total doses produced there. The pause means Canada's expected deliveries are going to be smaller for the next four weeks, including getting nothing at all the week of January 25.

Canada was scheduled to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just 171,093 doses this week and nothing next week. Canada's shipments are expected to pick-up in the first week of February but there are no specifics on the number of vaccines that will be delivered.

Provincial premiers are now being forced to cancel vaccine appointments, delay making new ones, or hold off giving second doses longer than hoped.

Israel, which signed a contract with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) to get vaccine doses more than three months after Canada did, has already received two million doses. Israel expects to vaccinate all of its citizens over the age of 16 by the end of March.

Canada has received about 600,000 from Pfizer and another 176,000 of a different vaccine from Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA). More than half a million people have now been vaccinated in Canada with at least one dose. Both vaccines require two doses for full effectiveness.