OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada will receive about a half million doses of the Pfizer Inc COVID-19 vaccine in January and the rollout of the shots is going as planned, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, as some areas braced for possible new restrictions.
Canada began inoculations on Monday with the Pfizer vaccine, and will receive about 255,000 total doses in December, slightly more than the 249,000 announced earlier this month, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.
The country is on track to receive deliveries of 4 million Pfizer doses by the end of March, as had been previously announced, Anand said.
“In January, we’ll be getting 125,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week, for a total of 500,000 doses that month,” Trudeau said in a news conference.
Ontario, the country’s most populous province, is considering further lockdowns after 2,290 new cases were reported on Friday, Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government would hold emergency meetings over the weekend and announce on Monday possible new health restrictions.
Lockdowns due to end on Monday in Toronto and Peel, two of the hardest hit parts of the province, will be extended, Ford said.
Overall, Canada has reported a total of 488,638 cases of COVID-19, with 7,008 new ones on Thursday, and 13,916 deaths.
Separately a television interview, Trudeau confirmed a Reuters report from November that Canada was in talks to donate shots to lower-income countries.
“As Canada gets vaccinated, if we have more vaccines than necessary, absolutely we will be sharing with the world,” Trudeau said in a CTV interview.
Trudeau did not outline how donations might work. Canada has reserved more vaccine doses per capita than any other country in the world.
“I would like to thank Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau for committing to share surplus doses of COVID-19 vaccines,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a Geneva press conference on Friday night.
(Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, additional reporting by Stephanie Nebahey in Geneva; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Gregorio)