Moderna to slash vaccine deliveries to Canada

Moderna will send far fewer COVID-19 shots to Canada this month than originally planned as the company grapples with production issues at its facilities in Europe, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand told CBC News Friday morning.

The company was poised to send 1.2 million more doses to Canada this month, but that shipment has been cut back to just 650,000 shots. While those vaccines were to arrive next week, the reduced shipment is now not expected until later this month, possibly as late as the first week of May.

Moreover, while Canada was planning to receive some 12.3 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, the company has now told officials that it will be one to two million shots short of that goal. Those shots will be pushed into the July-through-September period.

“Moderna advised Canada that this is due to a slower-than-anticipated ramp-up of their production capacity and is affecting a number of countries. We are disappointed, and while we understand the challenges facing suppliers in the current global market for vaccines, our government will continue to press Moderna to fulfil its commitments,” Anand said.

“When Moderna provides additional information, we will share it as soon as it is received. We continue to press Moderna for consistency of supply to Canada.”

The 855,000 doses of the Moderna product that were supposed to arrive the week of April 5 have only started to show up over the last several days, hampering the planned immunization clinics in some provinces.

Moderna making ‘adjustments’

In a statement, a spokesperson for Moderna said it would be making “adjustments” to the number of shots it sends to Canada and some other countries in the coming weeks.

“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain. Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources, have factored into this volatility,” the spokesperson said.

The company will make “substantial capital investments” to bolster production and explore “other potential collaboration opportunities” so that it can make more shots to meet insatiable global demand for its highly efficacious product.

Moderna, which, before the COVID-19 shot, had no experience producing products on a large scale, has partnered with Switzerland-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Lonza to help make its vaccine. The company also has contracted with other companies in the U.S. to pump out its mRNA vaccines for the American marketplace.

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