OTTAWA -- Canada will be receiving up to 200,000 more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and potentially up to 168,000 Moderna vaccine doses by the end of December. This means thousands more Canadians will be vaccinated before the end of the year.

“Canada has secured our second agreement for early doses of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, announcing that a second vaccine could be available for use in this country within days. 

The federal government has updated its contract with Moderna, to secure delivery of an initial tranche of doses of its vaccine candidate within 48 hours of Health Canada approval. The first 168,000 doses are expected to arrive in a series of shipments, and would be the first of what was expected to be two million Moderna doses contracted to arrive in Canada by the end of March 2021.

Overall, Canada has secured access to 20 million Pfizer doses—four million of which are set to land by the end of March— and 40 million Moderna doses, with options to buy thousands more from each manufacturer if needed.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, with Pfizer’s shots to be given 21 days apart, and Moderna’s to be given 28 days apart.  

This news comes on the second day of the largest mass vaccination effort in Canadian history, as more health-care workers and seniors begin receiving their immunizations with the Pfizer shot, which arrived in this country on Sunday and was in the first arms by midday Monday. 

Canada made a deal to receive 249,000 Pfizer doses this month, and by next week 230,000 of those doses will have landed. There are currently 14 sites across the provinces that are up and running, receiving the initial doses. Trudeau said Tuesday that by next week the number of places able to handle and administer Pfizer shots will grow to 70, meaning an additional 56 will be added across the country. 

“As with the early shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, this moves us even further forward on getting Canadians protected as quickly as possible,” Trudeau said. 

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the federal government is paying fair market value for these doses, but wouldn’t say whether getting early doses—something the government wasn't anticipating early on—comes at an additional cost. 

In an interview on CTV Power Play, Anand said that the timeframe for the first Moderna doses could ship as early as 24 hours after Health Canada’s approval. 

The government also continues to say that the prospect of private companies looking to get in line for vaccine doses won’t impede Canadians’ access.

“All Canadians who want one, will get a free vaccine in the coming months of 2021,” Trudeau said. 


Health Canada is still evaluating the Moderna vaccine submission for safety and efficacy, after beginning that process on Oct. 12. Officials have said they are on track to authorize it for use in this country soon and provinces have been preparing to be able to have access to this vaccine option later this month.

Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press that the agency has received the final clinical data from the pharmaceutical giant, but is awaiting data on its manufacturing plants, which are expected to be provided by the end of the week. 

Anand first signalled in an interview on CTV’s Question Period this weekend that the government was in talks with Moderna about receiving initial doses early.

Health Canada has said suppliers can pre-position their orders, which Anand said she has raised with Moderna to see if it’d be an option to secure the fastest possible rollout of vaccines as soon as they are approved.

“Once it receives regulatory approval, it is evident from the pace with which we have been able to move from approval to delivery and rollout of the first vaccination program for priority populations, that ground has been well prepared for the next chapter in our response,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

There are two other vaccine candidates in the early stages of Health Canada assessment: Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.


The Moderna vaccine candidate still requires cold storage, but not at nearly as extreme cold temperatures as the Pfizer doses that started to be administered in Canada on Monday. This means its approval will open up new possibilities for where vaccines can be sent, stored, and shot into the arms of Canadians.

Because the Pfizer vaccine’s requirements are particularly complicated, initial doses are not being distributed to Indigenous communities or the territories.

Trudeau confirmed that doses of the Moderna vaccine will be directed to the North, as well as to remote and Indigenous communities in “the next few weeks,” adding that based on his discussions with territorial premiers, they’ll be ready to accept shipments.

“No community will be left behind. We have a plan to reach everyone who wants a vaccine, no matter where they live. Of course, shipping in the winter—especially to the far North—isn’t without its challenges,” he said.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the top military general who is leading the national rollout from the Public Health Agency of Canada, said that another dry run is planned, to make sure all provinces and other key players are ready to receive Moderna doses.  

If approved, the Moderna vaccine would be the first to be delivered using Canada’s contracted delivery plan through FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies Inc. to have doses kept cold while being shipped across the country.

“Canada will be picking up the Moderna vaccine, and that is work that is going on now to ensure that the logistics are in place… We are all ramping up, the companies are ramping up their production and at the same time here in Canada, we are ensuring that logistic systems are in place for the distribution of these vaccines right across the country,” said Anand.  

The government is also keeping close to their chest the additional sites where vaccines will be delivered, citing the need to ensure the locations are secure, to avoid potential interference or tampering.