Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer at Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks during a COVID-19 press conference at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer at Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks during a COVID-19 press conference at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

Vaccine distribution ramping up as 11% of Canadians get first shots: Ottawa

The federal government expects to deliver at least 1.5 million more doses within the next week.

Canada has hit a milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination drive and the federal government says it expects to deliver at least 1.5 million more doses within the next week.

Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, said during a news conference Thursday that the country had surpassed the 10 per cent mark of residents over 18 receiving at least one shot.

“To date, over 4.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada,” Njoo said in Ottawa. “This marks an important milestone, with more than 11 per cent of eligible adult Canadians … having received at least one dose.”

Njoo said that includes 60 per cent of people older than 80 and 19 per cent between 70 and 79. More than 60 per cent of adults in the three territories have received their first shot, he said.

But he warned those numbers aren’t enough to stop the spread as more transmissible variants continue to pose a “significant threat” until more people are vaccinated.

Federal officials said a total of six million vaccine doses have been delivered to the provinces and territories.

“With nearly two million vaccine doses to be distributed next week, we are clearly on track to receive eight million vaccine doses, reaching our objective for this quarter,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander who is overseeing the country’s vaccine program logistics.

Fortin said he doesn’t expect any disruption to shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Europe, despite concerns about potential export reductions by the European Union.

He said 1.2 million Pfizer doses are to arrive next week — the same as this week, which was the largest shipment so far.

Another 846,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are also being delivered, though there was word late Thursday that a batch of nearly 600,000, which was expected to arrive on the weekend, has been delayed until April 1.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand blamed a “backlog in its quality assurance process.”

“All of the doses have been manufactured and are authorized for shipment to Canada,” she said. “Once Moderna’s final quality assurance process has been completed, the doses will be released for shipment.”

The first 1.5 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses coming from the United States could also arrive next week, Fortin said, but a date has not yet been confirmed.

Fortin said there’s no indication that shipments of vaccine to Canada from India will be delayed, but added those discussions are ongoing.

Media reports Wednesday said India has halted exports of Covishield, the version of AstraZeneca produced at that country’s Serum Institute.

India has already supplied 500,000 of a planned two million doses to Canada, with another one million still slated for arrival in mid-April, followed by a final shipment a month or so later.

Health Canada noted Thursday it has updated the product label for the AstraZeneca vaccine to warn about blood clotting. Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser for the federal department, said three cases of blood clotting have been reported out of 300,000 Canadians who have received at least one dose, but none appeared to be linked to the vaccine.

Sharma said she agrees with European health authorities that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any potential risks, and that all four vaccines approved for use in Canada are considered safe.

Canada’s overall infection rate since the pandemic began a year ago is nearing the one-million mark. To date, the virus has killed 22,759 people across the country.

Health officials in New Brunswick are imposing circuit-breaker measures in an effort to contain an outbreak of the infection in the province’s northwest.

“We’re quite concerned because it is the variant,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “We have to pull out all the stops to get things under control.”

The province reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 89 active cases.

In Nova Scotia, there were four additional cases, including two related to travel, for a total of 25.

Ontario reported another 2,380 cases and 17 deaths, but officials noted that number was inflated because of a data catchup.

Quebec reported 945 cases and four more deaths, while Manitoba reported 111 cases and one death.Saskatchewan had 168 new cases and two deaths.

In Alberta, health officials reported 764 cases and three deaths. Twenty-one per cent of active cases were variants of concern.

British Columbia officials said they have seen an increase in cases among people who are 19 to 39 in the past six weeks even as COVID-19 cases decrease in people over 80.

Long-term care residents in British Columbia will soon be allowed more than one visitor and will be able to give their loved ones a hug after more than a year of strict restrictions.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion spotted in bizarre area of remote Holberg Road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road Monday, April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Port Hardy Minor Hockey logo
Port Hardy Minor Hockey hands out year-end awards

The ‘Outstanding Parent Volunteer Award’ went to Kimberly Hunt and Blair Isaac.

Melissa Milligan is working to build a disc golf course in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy’s disc golf survey results are in

138 people in total took the survey, with 94 per cent voting yes.

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A screenshot of the operating procedures section of Flow Academy’s now password-restricted online membership application form.
B.C. martial arts makes public announcment banning mask-wearers, vaccinated patrons

Interior Health has issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Police: mental health crisis likely in car driven through Saanich Walmart wall

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

Most Read