Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine allocations to Canada already assuming six doses per vial

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OTTAWA — Pfizer and BioNTech are already assuming Canada will agree its COVID-19 vaccine vials contain six doses instead of five and are using that to project how many vials it will send Canada in the coming weeks.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says Health Canada is still reviewing the request to formally change the label and is examining whether that sixth dose can be extracted consistently.

Canada has some existing supply of the special syringes needed to do so and two million of a recent order for 37.5 million of them are to arrive in Canada starting Feb. 4.

But in the meantime Pfizer is already using the new six-dose formula in its allocation of vaccines for Canadian shipments through to the end of March.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says if Canada doesn't agree to the label change, Pfizer will increase the number of vials it sends to meet its contract for four million doses.

However a planning document sent to provincial governments by Ottawa this morning lays out the doses coming at the five-dose formula, which left provinces believing they will be shorted half a million doses of vaccine this quarter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press