Millions of Moderna doses expected next month, but delivery dates still in question

·2 min read
A paramedic prepares doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a  pop-up vaccination clinic in Mississauga, Ont., on April 29. Canada has ordered a total of 44 million doses from the company. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A paramedic prepares doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination clinic in Mississauga, Ont., on April 29. Canada has ordered a total of 44 million doses from the company. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Moderna is still promising to deliver millions of vaccine doses to Canada next month — but it's not clear exactly when they'll arrive.

The company was expected to send roughly 12.3 million doses to Canada in the second quarter, for a total of 14.3 million shots in the first six months of this year. That number is now in question.

Late last week, Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, the military commander now leading vaccine logistics, said Canada is expected to receive around 40 million vaccine doses by the end of June — possibly eight to 10 million fewer than planned — because of ongoing delays with shipments from Moderna.

Anand said the federal government is still waiting for a delivery schedule.

"The supplier has communicated to us that millions of doses are expected to be delivered in June and that the first shipment will come in the first part of June," she told a news briefing today.

WATCH | Update on Moderna vaccine deliveries

"I have repeatedly stressed to Moderna the urgent need for a delivery schedule relating to June and July deliveries."

The Massachusetts-based company, which had never previously brought a drug to market, has had to cancel shipments and move delivery dates as it struggles with production issues and meeting the global demand for its product.

Anand says Canada still on track to meet vaccine goals

Moderna has few facilities of its own and depends on third-party companies to pump out its mRNA shot and ship it overseas. There have been delays in the quality-assurance process because of a shortage of skilled labour in Europe.

CBC News asked Moderna last week if the company was still on track to deliver those 12.3 million doses. "We remain in close contact with our federal government partners," a company spokesperson said.

"Moderna continues to scale up vaccine manufacturing and remains fully focused on delivering vaccines to customers in Canada and around the world," said Patricia Gauthier, general manager for Moderna's Canadian operations.

In all, Canada has ordered 44 million doses from the company.

Despite questions about Moderna, Anand said Canada remains on track for eligible Canadians to receive a first shot by the end of June and for all Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of September.