(Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)
P.E.I.'s Moderna vaccine shipment will be less than anticipated this month, says Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.
On Friday, Nova Scotia announced that some doses originally destined for the province would be diverted to the country's northern territories. Officials in New Brunswick later confirmed the province would also be impacted by diverted doses.
In a briefing Saturday, where P.E.I. announced its first detection of the B117 coronavirus variant, Morrison was asked if P.E.I. would also have some Moderna doses diverted.
"We did participate in a national call on Thursday evening and, for logistical reasons, they were looking to reduce some of the Moderna doses, my understanding was right across the country, for all provinces for the next shipment of Moderna," Morrison said.
"That is part of this ongoing vaccine rollout and the challenges that go with it."
Moderna down, Pfizer to go up in future
In an email to CBC, officials with Health Canada confirmed the reduction in Moderna shipment numbers for all provinces, citing provincial and territorial considerations and equity-based allocations.
"These decisions were made because of communities' limited access to robust health care services imposed by their remote and isolated locations," officials said.
"In December 2020, every province agreed to provide additional Moderna doses to the territories, as well as for remote and isolated Indigenous populations within their regions, during the first three months of 2021."
Morrison said that although there won't be as many Moderna doses sent to the provinces, she had reason to believe P.E.I. would be getting more Pfizer vaccine doses in the weeks and months ahead, something Health Canada confirmed.
"All provinces, including the Atlantic provinces, will be receiving more doses on a weekly basis than they have to date. The increase in Pfizer doses will be larger than the reduction the provinces will experience for the upcoming Moderna shipment."
King says vaccination plan still on track
Because of logistical challenges with storage and transportation, the three territories do not receive Pfizer vaccine doses.
When Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in early December, officials warned that the product had to be stored at under –60 C, and could not be easily transported from the freezer site. That was in order to retain the product's effectiveness.
Due to this, P.E.I. had originally planned to use its Moderna allocations, which have more standard vaccination storage requirements, to vaccinate residents and staff in long-term and community care facilities, within the facilities themselves.
A later revision to the Pfizer-BioNTech guidelines meant it could now be transported to the facilities, which the province has been doing.
We're pretty much in line with where we thought we would be with our vaccination rollout. — P.E.I. Premier Dennis King
Provincial officials have previously said the plan was still to have residents and staff in those facilities be fully vaccinated by this Tuesday.
"As of February 13th, where we're at now and where we thought we would be, we're pretty much in line with where we thought we would be with our vaccination rollout," added P.E.I. Premier Dennis King during Saturday's briefing.
In contrast, New Brunswick has received only 59 per cent of its expected vaccine doses.
Neither Health Canada or Morrison said by how much P.E.I.'s Moderna numbers have been reduced, when those shipments were scheduled to arrive or when the additional Pfizer shipments would begin.
Morrison said she was deferring providing numbers or details to her next weekly briefing scheduled for Tuesday.
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