The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta will be hit hard by the delay of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

In a press conference Friday, Alberta’s Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, said Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine capacity will be reduced because of the company’s adjustment to their deliveries to Canada.

“This is unfortunate news and we are all disappointed,” Shandro said.

“However, we will not stop.”

According to Shandro, Canada will receive 20 per cent fewer vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNtech next week and 80 per cent the week following that. The delay is due to complications at Pfizer’s European operations plant, where Canada is currently receiving the vaccine from.

Shandro said despite the delay, Alberta is still on track to meet its goal for first quarter vaccinations.

Alberta has administered 74,000 vaccines so far and is on track, to have the capacity to give out 50,000 per week by the end of January.

Pfizer vaccine will still arrive on a weekly basis in a reduced capacity and the Moderna vaccine will arrive every three weeks, with 16,900 until the end of February, Shandro said. After that, Moderna’s shipments will increase to around 25,000 doses.

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The Minister of Health said it will take longer to vaccinate health-care workers included in phase one of the province’s plan. It will also affect phase 1B, in which seniors over the age of 75 were set to be vaccinated.

The delays have caused confusion among Alberta health-care workers.

In a letter to Alberta Health Services, United Nurses Association president Heather Smith, said AHS needs to share more information about the vaccination process for its members.

“There is no compelling reason for AHS not to share this information with health-care workers in an open and transparent way, so that our members and other front-line workers understand where they fall on the priority list,” said Smith.

“Clear communication will bring certainty into these workers’ lives and calm some of their legitimate fears for themselves and their families,” Smith added.

Alberta’s senior medical officer of health Dr. Laura McDougall said she understands the frustration and hopes they can provide a clearer picture soon.

“We understand that health care workers and Albertans who are not able to receive an immunization at this point may be disappointed and anxious,” she said.

“We would love to be able to vaccinate everyone in all care facilities; all health-care workers and all Albertans. We would love to do that immediately. The reality is it’s going to take some time.”

The province announced 785 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and Alberta now has 12,189 active cases of the virus.

There are 796 people in hospital across the province, with 124 in the ICU.

Alberta reported 13 new deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, including a man in his 80s from the central zone, who died on Jan. 13.

Central zone sits at 1,155 active cases with 27 people in hospital and six in intensive care.

Red Deer has added a few cases Friday and sits at 201 cases after reporting 196 Thursday.

Red Deer County has 42 active and Lacombe County has 28 active.

Lacombe sits at 30 active cases, Sylvan Lake has 34 and Olds has 27. Mountain View County has 19 active cases of the virus, Kneehill County has 9 and Clearwater County sits at 78 active.

Camrose has 56 active cases and Camrose County sits at seven active.

Ponoka County, County of Wetaskiwin and Wetaskiwin have 492 combined active cases of COVID-19.



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