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COVID-19 vaccine supply expected to surge in Canada

Last Updated Jan 12, 2021 at 7:25 pm MST

CALGARY (CityNews) – Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine has been dripping into provinces. But despite supply concerns from some premiers, shipments are expected to speed up, meaning provinces will need to be prepared for a flood of doses.

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threatened to strike out for the open market and procure the vaccine himself.

“I think it’s actually good that it’s sort of a bit of a competitive situation on the one hand the provincial government saying we need more vaccines, on the other hand the federal government saying we’re getting them to you as fast as possible,” said Dr. Jim Kellner, Pediatrician and Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of Calgary.

“How would a government or another actor jump the queue to orders and contracts that have already been signed?” asked Ross Upshur, Prof., Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

However supply isn’t the issue. Canada has enough vaccines ordered to immunize everyone over four times, however the supply rate has been lagging, with only about one per cent of Canadians receiving their jab.

“The country of Israel, over 20 per cent of the population has been immunized there,” stated Kellner.

Once provinces start receiving more shipments, they may find the freezer is full if they aren’t prepared.

“There’s every reason to expect that later in 2021, we’re going to have [an abundance of] vaccines across the entire country. If we get 20 million doses in the second quarter of this year, that will be four times the amount of doses we’re getting in February,” said Kellner.

“The way we’re doing vaccinations now is not the way we’re going to be doing it in March, July and September. To get 30 million Canadians vaccinated there is going to have to be a need for much more infrastructure to do it,” said Zain Chagla Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Medicine, Mac and Infectious Disease Physician.

“We should be prepared for there to be some bumps along the road because there is no historical precedent for immunizing the planet,” said Upshur.