(Robert Atanasovski/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)
New Brunswick will not permanently lose any vaccine doses in the diversion of shipments to northern Canada, Health Canada says.
Instead, the federal agency confirmed Wednesday, the doses are being "deferred," meaning provinces will see the numbers made up again at a later date, and only Moderna vaccine shipments will be affected.
The clarification was part of a broader response to questions that have swirled since the announcement late Friday that New Brunswick and other provinces will see some of their vaccine dose deliveries diverted to communities in northern Canada this month.
Health Canada said that "every province agreed to provide additional doses" to Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, and the remote and isolated Indigenous populations within them, during the first three months of 2021.
"There are no doses lost, only doses deferred in order to accelerate deliveries to the territories because of their specific logistics and delivery constraints," the agency said.
It noted the territories do not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, so the deferral will apply to Moderna vaccine doses only.
New Brunswick is forecasted to receive 2,400 Moderna doses by the end of February, according to the federal government website for vaccine delivery schedules.
It will also receive 8,190 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, and another 9,360 every week afterward until the first week of April.
A decision has not yet been made on how many doses will be deferred, but the shipments should be caught up by the end of March, the agency said.
"We are expecting Moderna's shipment scheduled on February 22nd and the one after that, slotted in March, to be impacted by this measure," the agency said.
"At the end of March, all allocations will be squared up and the doses of Moderna will be delivered as agreed upon initially to provinces and territories."
New Brunswick Public Health said Wednesday that while they want to ensure the supply of vaccine for New Brunswickers, "we also recognize the importance of supplying Canadians in the territories with vaccine, particularly since they opted to forgo early shipments of vaccine due to logistics challenges."
In an email, communications officer Shawn Berry said that the federal government indicated in December that some Moderna vaccines bound for provinces would be going to the Territories.
"Following that, we received revised numbers for our shipments," Berry said. "Last week, we again received revised numbers for our Moderna shipments."
Three new cases reported in two zones
Public Health is reporting three new cases affecting two zones in the province.
The department did not hold a live update Wednesday, but in a news release it noted the cases break down in this way:
Saint John region, Zone 2, one case:
an individual 40 to 49
Edmundston region, Zone 4, two cases:
an individual 60 to 69
an individual 80 to 89
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,407. Since Tuesday, 15 people have recovered for a total of 1,264 recoveries.
There have been 24 deaths, and the number of active cases is 118. Six patients are hospitalized, and two are in intensive care. To date, a total of 219,910 tests have been conducted, including 770 since Tuesday's report.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
A fever above 38 C.
A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.