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First COVID-19 vaccine shipment lands in Canada

UPS plane arrives with first doses produced at Belgian facility

A UPS plane delivered Canada's first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-10 vaccines on Sunday night. (Photo: Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines landed in Canada on Sunday night, coming via a UPS plane. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the arrival of vaccines in a tweet. It came on the same day as the vaccines started shipping from Pfizer in the U.S.

Canada is receiving around 30,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Sunday and Monday on several flights as well as trucks coming from the U.S. Canada’s vaccines are being produced at a facility in Belgium.

Neither the Canadian government nor UPS immediately released details about the first flight. However, an Airbus A300 from UPS’ global air hub in Louisville, Kentucky, landed at Montreal Mirabel International Airport shortly before Trudeau’s announcement.

On Friday, UPS Canada shared photos of the first boxes of the vaccine being prepared for shipment from a facility in Cologne, Germany.

The initial doses — the first of 20 million ordered — will be distributed to 14 sites across the country. 

“The delivery schedule is unfolding exactly as planned,” Canadian Armed Forces Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is overseeing the logistics of the federal government’s vaccine distribution effort, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday.

Canada ordered or reserved access to some 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates from multiple manufacturers. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received approval on Thursday. 

On Tuesday, FedEx Canada and partner Innomar Strategies won a CA$90.4 million ($70.5 million) logistics contract from the Canadian government to distribute COVID-19 vaccines from producers other than Pfizer-BioNTech.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak.

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]