Federal vaccine shipment slowdown concerning for Sask. Premier

Federal officials say Pfizer is reducing deliveries of their vaccine at their European facility, due to expansion work there. Procurement Minister Anita Annand says, its to be expected when the global supply chain is stretched beyond its limits. She says, despite the delay, the country remains on track to have enough approved vaccine for everyone who wants to be vaccinated by the end of September. Pfizer hopes to catch up on production by the end of March.

Meanwhile, Health officials are monitoring 2 new strains of COVID-19, which have showed up in Canada. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says there have been 23 cases with one variant and two cases with the other.

Premier Scott Moe says news that Pfizer shipments will be slowed is very concerning. He says, Saskatchewan has been able to increase the pace of vaccinations in recent days, but their planning is based on the federal government providing a reliable weekly supply of vaccines. Ottawa has advised Saskatchewan to expect 11,700 Pfizer doses a week throughout the month of February and the vaccine rollout has been based on that schedule, including second dosages. Moe says, If this has changed, they need to advise us immediately.

The Premier also says this raises the importance of the federal government quickly reviewing and approving additional vaccine candidates including the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is already being administered in other countries. Health Minister Paul Merriman will be raising the matter on a call with the federal and provincial ministers.


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