Canada says Pfizer vaccine delay unfortunate, death toll to spike

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada said on Friday that Pfizer's decision to temporarily cut shipments of some COVID-19 vaccines was unfortunate but should not hit its inoculation program.

Pfizer said it would slow production in late January to early February due to changes to manufacturing processes to boost production.

"This is unfortunate. However, such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits," Procurement Minister Anita Anand said, confirming that Canada would be affected.

Anand said that despite the delay, Canada was still on track to offer vaccines to everyone by the end of September. The country is struggling to contain a second wave of COVID-19.

Canadian cases are set to continue growing rapidly, driven higher by a spike in the populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec, health officials said in a long-range forecast released separately on Friday.

The forecast said that by Jan. 24 the total death toll could be between 18,570 to 19,630 while total cases could range from 752,400 to 796,630. Canada has recorded 17,538 deaths and 688,891 cases so far.

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

01/15/2021 15:21

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