The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines across Canada has been slowed down by a decentralized health system and Ontario’s decision to halt immunization during the holidays. Details on Canada’s approach to distribution and logistics for COVID-19 vaccines have been presented below.
Canada’s Approach to Distribution and Logistics for COVID-19 Vaccines
- The Canadian government has established an Immunization National Operations Center (NOC) for COVID-19, which acts as the federal logistical coordination body and the center for “managing delivery and collaboration with provinces and territories for distribution.”
- The Canadian government is also liaising with logistics providers to distribute millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines across the country from multiple manufacturers.
- The vaccine distribution, which began in December 2020, is done in phases and is expected to be complete by September 2021.
- Pfizer has a distribution plan for its vaccine, which it developed with Canada’s “federal and provincial government agencies to deploy the vaccine.”
Insights on Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Logistics
- According to public-health experts, Canada’s officials have been slow in moving the COVID-19 vaccines from industrial freezers to long-term care facilities where the elderly are among the first to receive the vaccination.
- The rollout has also been slowed by “a decentralized health system run by individual provinces and territories and by Ontario’s decision to pause vaccinations in the country’s most populous province for two days during the holidays.” According to retired Gen. Rick Hillier, pausing vaccination in Ontario during the holidays was a wrong move that was made with the expectation that there would be few workers available for vaccination in long-term homes during the holidays. Doug Ford, the Ontario Premier, has also acknowledged “bumps on the road” in the distribution of the vaccines.
- Pfizer’s decision to upgrade one of its facilities in Europe is expected to lead to a temporary reduction of the number of vaccines the company ships to several countries, including Canada, which will, in turn, lead to a supply glitch. Canada will not be receiving the Pfizer vaccine in the week of January 25, 2021.
- According to Jean-Paul Soucy, an industry expert, the Canadian government should put in place a large-scale infrastructure to speed up vaccine distribution.