Montreal

Pfizer's delivery slowdown forces Quebec to adjust vaccination targets

The province's Health Ministry is adjusting its short-term vaccination goals on the fly, with Pfizer temporarily slowing down delivery of its doses to Canada.

The province says 75 per cent of long-term care residents have received 1 shot

Pfizer is slowing down deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine, and Quebec is scaling back some of its short-term vaccination targets. (Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via Associated Press)

Pfizer's temporary slowdown of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Canada is forcing Quebec to make adjustments to its short-term vaccination goals, including reducing the number of doses to be administered.

Pfizer is temporarily scaling back deliveries to Canada as part of plans to expand its long-term manufacturing capacity at its facility in Belgium. Last Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted that Quebec would only receive about half of about 176,000 doses it was expecting to receive from the manufacturer within the next three weeks. 

In a statement released Tuesday, the Health Ministry said the province's target of providing 250,000 doses by Feb. 8, has been lowered to 225,000, but it is still promising to provide second doses within a maximum of 90 days to people who have had their first shot.

The Quebec government has been criticized of late for its decision to not administer the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines within the manufacturers' prescribed time-frame — 21 and 28 days for the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, respectively.

Some long-term care residents at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte St-Luc have even threatened legal action, demanding that they receive their second dose as soon as possible. Health Minister Christian Dubé has insisted that spreading out first doses to as many people as possible is the right way to go. 

Quebec's Health Ministry says its plans to finish vaccinating people living in long-term care homes by next Monday remains unchanged, with 75 per cent of residents having already received a shot.

Once that is done, much of the vaccination campaign's focus will shift to private seniors' homes, but the ministry says the 21,000 doses now set to be given out by Feb. 8 is fewer than originally planned. 

The province had planned to vaccinate 160,000 health-care workers by then, but that number is expected to be reduced to 127,000. The target for people living in remote regions remains the same.

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