Pfizer vaccine delay comes as Canada battles surge in COVID-19

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Pfizer's reduction of its COVID-19 vaccine shipments comes as Canada battles a surge in cases, though the country's procurement minister said on Friday the overall goal of getting most people inoculated by the end of September stands. Pfizer said it would slow production in late January to early February due to changes to manufacturing processes aimed at boosting production, but would provide a 'significant increase' in doses in late February and March.

Reuters January 16, 2021 00:12:59 IST
Pfizer vaccine delay comes as Canada battles surge in COVID-19

Pfizer vaccine delay comes as Canada battles surge in COVID19

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Pfizer's reduction of its COVID-19 vaccine shipments comes as Canada battles a surge in cases, though the country's procurement minister said on Friday the overall goal of getting most people inoculated by the end of September stands.

Pfizer said it would slow production in late January to early February due to changes to manufacturing processes aimed at boosting production, but would provide a "significant increase" in doses in late February and March.

"This is a temporary delay and we remain on track to have enough approved vaccines for everyone who wishes to get vaccinated by the end of September 2021," Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.

Canada is struggling to contain a second wave of the novel coronavirus. On Friday, the health ministry said there could be a spike of more than 100,000 new cases in just the next nine days. That means almost 12,000 new cases per day, compared with the 7,565 new cases reported on Thursday.

The forecast said the total death toll could be between 18,570 to 19,630 by Jan. 24 while total cases could range from 752,400 to 796,630.

The spike in cases is being driven mainly by the populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec, health officials said.

Ontario declared an emergency and told people to stay home as much as possible earlier this week, saying it was on track to have more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by the middle of February, a nearly ten-fold increase.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer; Editing by Alexander Smith and Peter Graff)

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