Moderna Inc has said that a shortfall in Covid-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.
Canada had earlier said the drugmaker would be delivering only 650,000 doses by April end as opposed to 1.2 million, and that one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.
Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the shortfalls in the second quarter or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.
"Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility," said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.
Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna's vaccine in Visp, but it is still ramping up three new production lines that only once fully operational would have a capacity to produce 300 million shots annually.
'Cases in Ontario could triple'
Modeling shows that cases of Covid-19 in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, could triple by the end of May unless tough restrictions are imposed, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp said on Friday.
Some hospitals say they are already close to breaking point as a rapidly worsening third wave rips through the province, and the head of its main nurses organization has called for a full lockdown including a curfew.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who has so far resisted such wide-ranging steps but is under increasing criticism for how his government has handled the epidemic, is due to make an announcement at 2:30 pm Eastern Time (1830 GMT).
Ontario, which accounts for 38 percent of Canada's population, announced a record 4,736 daily cases on Thursday and the CBC cited sources as saying this could rocket to 18,000 by end of May if current trends continued.
Canada's response to the pandemic has been complicated by the division of responsibilities between the 10 provinces and Ottawa, which helps fund health care but is not in charge of medical services.
The federal government is buying vaccines but the provinces are responsible for inoculations.
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