Delay in Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shipment creating 'gap' in Ottawa's supply, city says
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at a pop-up vaccine clinic for EMS workers Center in Salt Lake City on January 5, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Bowmer)
OTTAWA -- The city of Ottawa is looking to fill a "gap" in its COVID-19 vaccine supply following a delay in delivery of Moderna vaccines.
Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte told Councillors and the media on Wednesday that Ottawa's vaccine deliveries will be delayed this week.
"I must, unfortunately, report that we have been told there's going to be a delay in Moderna," said Di Monte. "So we had a regular stream of getting a certain amount of Pfizer, about 25,000 doses a week, and every second week we get a batch of Moderna."
Di Monte did not say how many doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna were scheduled to arrive.
On Monday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said a batch of more than 855,000 doses of vaccine was on route to Canada. The delivery was first scheduled for last week, but was delayed because of an ongoing backlog in quality assurance checks at the Moderna production plant in Europe.
City staff are now looking at the delay and what it could mean for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Over the weekend, the city reported all appointments for eligible residents in Ottawa were temporarily booked until more supply is confirmed.
"If you've got a booked vaccine, it's because we had vaccine confirmed by the province. This little glitch that we have today, that we've just been made aware of, is the Moderna was part of the confirmed batch, so now we have a bit of a gap," said Di Monte.
"There are options being proposed to us by the province for other vaccine that may become available to fill that gap. So I don't want people to panic right now, if you have an appointment and it's booked, I suspect we'll have a solution for this problem."
Ottawa received a shipment of 25,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday and 2,100 doses of AstraZeneca. A shipment of 11,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Ottawa last week.
A total of 250,990 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Ottawa since Dec. 14.
Di Monte said it's too soon to know whether COVID-19 vaccination appointments may need to be cancelled due to the delayed shipment.
"The machine is there, it's running, we're getting vaccinations done and here, unfortunately, we go ahead perhaps with a lull in vaccines," said Di Monte.
"I'm hoping we don't have to end up cancelling appointments or slow our pace down."
Di Monte says cancelling appointments may be a scenario that needs to be looked at, but receiving other doses of COVID-19 vaccine is a possibility to make up the shortfall.