By Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians just need to hold on “a little longer” as he promises even more COVID-19 vaccine doses will arrive this spring.
Pfizer is going to send five million more doses to Canada in June than it previously planned, and AstraZeneca will ship 4.4 million by the end of that month.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand also confirmed Tuesday that the first deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will arrive in Canada at the end of April, though she can’t say yet how many of the 10 million doses that Canada has purchased will be in the initial shipment.
Even without J&J, and barring any unexpected interruptions in production or export of vaccines, Canada is in line to get more than 44 million doses before Canada Day.
That should mean all adults over 18 will be offered a vaccine faster, and that the wait for a second dose may not be as long as the current four months.
Canada needs about 31 million doses to offer at least one shot to every adult.
The news however comes as concern about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots has pushed all provinces to stop using it for people under age 55 pending further analysis.
Trudeau says while the end of the pandemic is nearing, and vaccines are going to start flowing faster, variants are adding to the risk and Canadians cannot yet throw caution aside.
COVID-19 is spreading faster in many parts of the country, driven by variants of the virus that are not only more contagious but are making people sicker.
Dr. Theresa Tam says hospitalizations are up six per cent in the last week and the number of patients needing critical care is up 14 per cent.