Moderna, feds say vaccine shipments to Canada not reduced, will arrive by end of month

·3 min read
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe speaks during a COVID-19 media update at the Legislative Building in Regina on Dec. 9, 2020.  (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe speaks during a COVID-19 media update at the Legislative Building in Regina on Dec. 9, 2020. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Moderna has disputed comments made by Saskatchewan's premier about a vaccine shipment being reduced.

The dispute centres around a portion of the Moderna vaccine that was expected to arrive the week of March 22 being moved to the following week of March 29.

During a provincial update on COVID-19 Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe said, "Moderna's shipment to Canada that is scheduled for next week is going to be cut by about 70 per cent. Moderna says that they will deliver the remaining 70 per cent of those doses during the following week."

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Moderna Canada said Moe's comment about a cut "isn't accurate."

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander who leads vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said in an email sent to the provincial governments that they would receive their full expected shipment by the end of the month, but that some of the doses would not arrive until March 30, six days after an initial delivery on March 24.

"Rest assured that every province and territory will receive the quantity of Moderna vaccines allotted to them with a full allocation of 846,000 Moderna doses expected for Canada, as planned," Fortin said.

He said Moderna's shipment for the week of March 22 will be completed in two deliveries, with the second coming the following week.

"Therefore most provinces and territories can expect to have a delivery on March 24 and 30," Fortin said.

The office to the premier said they were given this slide by Tuesday from the Vaccine Logistic National Operations Centre that indicated the shipment would be reduced by 70 per cent. The federal government maintains all doses will arrive the week of March 22.
The office to the premier said they were given this slide by Tuesday from the Vaccine Logistic National Operations Centre that indicated the shipment would be reduced by 70 per cent. The federal government maintains all doses will arrive the week of March 22.(Saskatchewan Government)

The premier's office said Moe got his information from "a slide sent to Saskatchewan officials" on Tuesday from the Vaccine Logistic National Operations Centre.

"The slide indicates that the shipment due on the week of March 22 will be split into two parts, with about 30 per cent of the shipment arriving during the week of March 22, and about 70 cent arriving during the week of March 29," said Julie Legott, press secretary to the premier.

According to Health Canada, 30,500 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are scheduled to ship to Saskatchewan on March 22.
According to Health Canada, 30,500 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are scheduled to ship to Saskatchewan on March 22. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Moe had expressed concerns that a split shipment would delay 23,000 doses to Saskatchewan residents.

According to Health Canada, Saskatchewan's March 22 shipment of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is supposed to have 30,500 doses.

2nd time a drug manufacturer has disputed Sask. government

This is the second time in recent months a pharmaceutical company has spoken out against comments the Saskatchewan government has made.

Back in January, Pfizer denied placing requirements on the government after Health Minister Paul Merriman told the public it was a requirement from the manufacturer to hold back second doses of its vaccine.

Pfizer said it was a recommendation, and dosing decisions are ultimately up to health authorities.

The premier later clarified it was the province's decision to hold back the second dose.