TORONTO (AP) — Canada will start getting Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from the United States next week, a company spokesperson said Friday, in what will be the first time the U.S. has allowed that company’s vaccine exported to Canada.
Despite Canada’s tightly woven commercial ties with the U.S., it has been getting Pfizer’s vaccines from Belgium until now because U.S. authorities had kept supplies made in the U.S. for domestic use.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated Friday that starting next week, Canada will be receiving 2 million doses a week from Pfizer alone.
Vaccinations have ramped up in Canada in recent months. Every adult in Quebec will be eligible to make a vaccine appointment on May 14 and in Ontario, Canada’s largest province, every adult can book an appointment starting May 24.
Trade-dependent Canada previously lagged on vaccinating its population of 38 million because it lacks the facilities to manufacture the vaccine itself.
Trudeau’s government bet on seven different vaccines manufactured elsewhere and secured advance purchase agreements — enough to get 10 doses for each Canadian.. Regulators have approved the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
But initial supply chain difficulties forced Canada to extend the time between the first shot and the second by up to four months so that everyone can be protected faster with the primary dose. The hope is to get all adults at least one shot by the end of June.