Sask. told to expect fewer Pfizer doses
FILE - A health worker prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination campaign of members of the Emergency Medical Services of Madrid in Madrid on January 12. (Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images via CNN)
REGINA -- The federal government has reduced Saskatchewan’s Pfizer vaccine allocation for the first quarter of 2021.
The province said on Thursday afternoon it was told to now expect 112,125 Pfizer doses instead of 124,800.
The rollback is the result of a back and forth between Pfizer and Health Canada. The vaccine producer expects Canada to pull six doses out of each vial, instead of five. Canada’s public health body is reviewing a request to change the label to indicate six doses can be drawn from a vial – and if Canada has a sufficient supply of special syringes needed to extract the sixth dose.
Premier Scott Moe expressed his frustration with the feds on Thursday morning, tweeting that he is not getting “accurate information” from Ottawa, and writing that the federal government told the provinces Pfizer shipments to Ottawa will be cut from 4 million to 3.5 million doses for the first quarter. Moe said every province will see its allocation reduced.
However, the military general overseeing the national vaccine rollout said Pfizer will increase the number of vials it sends to meet the March deadline, even if Canada does not agree to change the labels from five to six doses.
“They have assured us four million by the end of March,” Fortin said at a press conference on Thursday.
Saskatchewan had doled out 34,672 doses of the vaccine as of Wednesday. According to the government, 106 per cent of doses received have been administered. The overage is a result of healthcare workers drawing extra doses from vaccines.
The government said it has confirmed a shipment of 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the week of Feb. 1.
According to the Ministry of Health, it is still reviewing the information from Ottawa to determine the impact on Phase One of the vaccine rollout.
In the government’s original rollout plan outlined in December, the province identified 190,000 in priority populations it aimed to immunize in the first phase of the rollout.
The province said on Jan.14, based on federal allocations, it will not have enough vaccines to fully vaccinate the priority population. At that time, the Saskatchewan Health Authority estimated it will fall short of immunizing the high priority population by about 50 per cent.
With files from Graham Slaughter of CTVNews.ca and The Canadian Press