Canada News Agency

Canada's AstraZeneca vaccine shipment delayed

Shipments of the coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute to Canada have been put on hold for an indefinite period as India has temporarily stopped vaccine exports so as to cater to domestic needs.

According to Sputnik, New Delhi is concentrating on immunization at home due to a spike in domestic cases.

"We are working with the company on determining when the doses will arrive. We are expecting a delay in the shipment," Joelle Paquette, Director General, of Procurement Support Services Sector, told reporters on Thursday. "We do not have the information [about] when we're going to get the doses," she further added.

Paquette, however, noted Canada received assurances from the Serum Institute that they are committed to meeting their contractual obligations. As per the terms of a contract signed in February, Canada is set to receive an additional 1.5 million vaccine doses from the company by mid-May, in addition to the 500,000 doses received last month as reported by Sputnik.

Canadian officials are expecting a shipment of vaccines from the COVAX facility next week, Paquette said, although, adding that the World Health Organization co-led initiative does not provide a delivery schedule. Ottawa has been roundly criticized for being the only G7 country to draw from the facility that is intended to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines to developing nations.

The previously delayed shipment of 600,000 Moderna vaccine doses will arrive on Friday, with deliveries beginning on Saturday, the government's vaccine distribution czar, Canadian Army Major General Dany Fortin said.

Despite inking deals with numerous vaccine manufacturers, the Trudeau government has faced sharp criticism for a muted vaccine rollout program that has been labelled a failure by opposition parties and many Canadians.

According to Johns Hopkins, 993,717 COVID cases are registered in Canada with an overall 22,993 COVID-related death cases reported.