Territories scrambling to adjust to Moderna vaccine delivery shortfall

Territorial governments have been forced to adjust their rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in light of this morning's announcement that Canada will receive less of the Moderna vaccine in February than originally scheduled.

N.W.T. will only receive 4,700 of the expected 7,200 doses of the vaccine next week

Public health officials in the North are adjusting ther plans to roll out the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after it was announced this morning that Canada will be receiving fewer doses than it expected in February. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Territorial governments are scrambling to adjust their rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in light of this morning's announcement that Canada will receive less of the Moderna vaccine in February than originally scheduled.

Prime Minister Trudeau said that Canada will receive about 50,000 fewer doses of the vaccine next month because of manufacturing issues at Moderna's plants.

The Moderna vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine being administered across the North.

The Northwest Territories will receive 4,700 doses of the vaccine next week instead of the 7,200 it expected, it said in a Facebook post.

It said the following shipment of vaccines during the third week of February will also be impacted but it doesn't know how yet.

The Yukon government said their vaccine rollout will continue as planned and that it is working with their federal counterparts to determine how receiving fewer doses will affect the territory. 

"We continue to roll out the vaccine," reads an emailed statement sent to CBC. "We strongly encourage all Yukoners to take their shot when it is their turn."

CBC also reached out to the Nunavut government for comment on the vaccine shortage. It has not responded.

Adjusting vaccine rollout

The government of the N.W.T. said that over the next week, it will continue to deliver second doses to long-term care residents and staff within 28 days, using vaccines they've already received.

"Second doses to other priority populations will be delivered closer to the 42-day timeframe to maximize vaccine supply," it said in a Facebook post made Friday.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Gahcho Kué winter road site and the increased risk of exposure from southern workers, N.W.T.-resident rotational workers —  mine workers, winter road support staff, and medevac pilots — will be offered first doses of the vaccine over the next week, the post said.

"All remaining doses will be conserved to deliver second doses to priority populations," the post reads, adding that requests for first doses outside these groups are, for now, being put on hold.

The prime minister said the delay in vaccine shipment from Moderna doesn't alter the plan to have 2 million doses of the vaccines in Canada by the end of March, as planned.

"We know that this is something that we're going to have to keep watching very, very closely," said Trudeau.


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