Pfizer to start shipping coronavirus vaccine to Canada

David Ljunggren and Carl O'Donnell
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Vial and sryinge are seen in front of displayed Pfizer logo

By David Ljunggren and Carl O'Donnell

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc will next week start supplying Canada with COVID-19 vaccine made in its U.S. plant, a senior official said on Friday, making it the second country to receive doses from the Kalamazoo, Michigan facility.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Pfizer had started shipping doses made at the plant to Mexico, the first time the company has delivered abroad from U.S. facilities after a Trump-era restriction on its vaccine exports expired at the end of March.

"I can confirm that as of May 3, the Canadian supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will come from its manufacturing site in Kalamazoo," Canada federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.

Canada expects to remain on the same schedule, with 2 million doses expected each week in May and 2.4 million doses each week in June, Anand said.

The U.S. government has been under mounting pressure to help countries desperately in need of vaccines, particularly given its own swift vaccination program. Many countries where the virus is still rampant are struggling to acquire vaccine supplies to help tame the pandemic.

Canada has deals with Pfizer for up to 76 million doses. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE have previously been supplying various countries including Canada and Mexico with doses from Pfizer's main European production plant in Belgium.

Pfizer has shipped more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Mexico, making it the country's largest supplier of shots. Pfizer is also shipping 1 million shots to Brazil this week, its health minister said on Wednesday. Brazil signed an agreement in March to acquire 100 million Pfizer shots and it is in talks to purchase 100 million more.

Pfizer will use extra capacity in its U.S. facilities to deliver coronavirus vaccines abroad while continuing to meet its commitment to supply the United States, a source familiar with the matter said, adding the drugmaker will also make shipments from Belgium.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottowa, Carl O'Donnell in New York, Adriana Barrera and Raul Cortes in Mexico City; additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter in Rio De Janiero; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)