The Quebec government has been forced to revise its COVID-19 vaccination timetable because of a reduction in the delivery of Pfizer’s vaccine to Canada.
The provincial health ministry confirmed that the schedule is under review because of the reduction in the number of doses available over the next few weeks.
Those most affected by the changes will be residents of privately run seniors’ homes and health-care personnel.
The ministry said the changes will be based upon established priorities as well as demand, the capacity of various establishments and scientific advice.
An overhaul of Pfizer’s production facilities are responsible for the delay in deliveries. The objective of administering 250,000 doses of vaccine by Feb. 8 has been reduced to 225,000. A little more than 1.2 million doses are expected in Quebec by March 29.
The target of vaccinating all residents of long-term care homes (CHSLDs) by Jan. 25 is maintained, with 75 per cent having received their first of two doses.
The inoculation program in private seniors’ homes is still expected to take place on the week of Jan. 25, but at a slower pace, with 21,000 doses expected to be administered by Feb. 8.
About 20,000 residents of isolated areas of the province are expected to be vaccinated by Feb. 8, but the target of providing vaccine by the same date to health-care workers has been reduced to 127,000.
The ministry added that the deadline of providing a second dose within 42 to 90 days is maintained. CHSLD residents and health-care workers who have already been given their first dose can expect the second beginning on March 15.
Pfizer informed the federal government on Friday that deliveries to Canada would be reduced by half because of the modernization of a factory in Belgium, aimed at increasing the pace of production. The company was supposed to ship 735,150 doses to Canada between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14. Deliveries after this slowdown will have to be larger than originally planned in order for Pfizer to respect its contract of four million doses by the end of March.