WINNIPEG -- There have been further reductions in how many doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Manitoba is getting.

Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead for Manitoba’s vaccination implementation task force, said Wednesday that if no more shipments are coming from the federal government, Manitoba will run out on February 7th.

“If that does happen, we will then need to look at cancelling first and second dose appointments at supersites,” she said. “But the information in front of us today, that’s been provided by the federal government, we do not have any plans to cancel those appointments for now.”

Dr. Reimer said the Pfizer shipment expected next week is not coming and the deliveries for the rest of the month have been cut in half.

The task force was originally told Manitoba would receive 18,720 doses, and the new estimate is 9,360.

The month-long delay from the manufacturer is expected to impact more than 29,000 doses in Manitoba.

Dr. Reimer explained that no appointments have had to be cancelled yet, because doses are not held back in Manitoba for all booked appointments.

“We always have enough for the clinics that are booked for the existing week, and then we have enough for the week that the next shipment is supposed to arrive,” she explained. “Because we don’t know when exactly that shipment is going to arrive, even if it’s not delayed, and the federal government doesn’t guarantee us a specific day, they tell us the week that we can expect the dose to arrive.”

A few members of the vaccine task force had a briefing on the impacts this slowdown would have on the vaccine rollout.

It showed the average number of doses per day expected in February is now just under 1,500, down from a previous estimate of 2,500.

One spokesperson said it is still very early, and the Pfizer delays may not move the target of getting 70 per cent of Manitobans inoculated by the end of 2021.

“If we’re assuming about a 70 per cent uptake. We’re looking at 1.5 million doses,” said Dr. Reimer. “And so, that combined with the complexity of the current vaccines that are available, make it a far larger and far more complex program than anything we’ve seen in the past.”