AstraZeneca doses from US expected in Canada by the end of March: Procurement minister

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand responds to a question during a news conference Monday October 26, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

On Thursday, news that the United States would be lending Canada 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines brought up questions of when those shots could actually enter our country.

Federal procurement minister Anita Anand laid out some timeline details on CP24 Tonight.

"We will receive 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United States within the next week or two," Anand said Thursday. "I have stressed the importance of timeliness, and we do expect those vaccines to be arriving very shortly in light of the need of the provinces and territories to continue administering vaccines."

That's on top of 20 million AstraZeneca shots that Canada has already secured. Anand says those will be arriving before the end of the third quarter of this year.

"We will also, then, repay the United States with 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines once we have our own vaccines of that supplier in the country."

Anand says she and Canada's ambassador to the US have been on the phone with the Biden administration numerous times.

As for if this could speed up the reopening of the Canada-US border, Anand says the focus right now is getting as many shots into arms as possible.

Canada's public safety minister announced on Thursday that the land border would remain restricted until at least April 21. 

The US has also committed to lending 2.5 million doses of the vaccine to Mexico.

This comes as the Biden administration anticipates to surpass 100 million citizens inoculated on Friday, weeks ahead of the goal the president had originally laid out.