Coronavirus Updates: Canada locks in thousands more early COVID-19 vaccine doses

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Pfizer will not ship any vaccine doses to Canada next week, Report
Pfizer will not ship any vaccine doses to Canada next week, Report

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 comes at an additional cost. 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.

STILL REVIEWING MODERNA

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.

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