More Pfizer shortages force Manitoba to pause vaccine appointments
Jennifer Cochrane, a public health nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, readies the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite at the Keystone Centre on Monday (Jan. 18, 2021). (Courtesy the Government of Manitoba)
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba is receiving a fraction of the doses it expected in the next shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, after the third delay related to supply chain issues.
The disruption is forcing the province to pause vaccination appointments in Winnipeg and Brandon.
“It’s disappointing,” said acting deputy chief public health officer Jazz Atwal during Friday’s COVID-19 update. “It was sort of unexpected. We developed a vaccine program to anticipate these issues.”
In a bulletin Friday, the province said Manitoba will be getting 2,340 doses the week of February 1, instead of the original estimate of 5,850. No deliveries are expected to arrive next week.
“As a result, Manitoba will stop taking appointments for the Winnipeg and Brandon super sites immediately. The province is currently reviewing its supply of vaccine to determine if any booked appointments will have to be cancelled as a result and will update Manitobans as soon as possible,” said the bulletin.
Last week, Pfizer confirmed shipments to Canada are delayed because of expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility.
Despite the disruptions, Atwal said he remains optimistic, adding the delay is expected to end in the next few weeks.
“Short-term, yes there are going to be these bumps. Long-term it looks very promising,” said Atwal.
As of Friday, more than 23,000 shots have gone into the arms of Manitobans, including 20,846 first doses and 3,038 second doses.
A new vaccination super site in Thompson is still expected to open as scheduled on February 1.
Eligible Manitobans will receive the Moderna vaccine at the Thompson site
“There are a few other vaccines on the horizon. They aren’t approved yet, but they show a lot of promise,” said Atwal. “They will allow us to scale up very fast.”
Immunization teams are continuing to vaccinate personal care home residents.
According to the bulletin, they’ve entered 61 personal care homes and vaccinated 3,903 residents.
The province said the teams are planning to go into another 62 personal care homes next week.