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Canada approves Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

  • Published at 11:31 pm December 9th, 2020
Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine
File photo of Vials with a sticker reading, ‘Covid-19' and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken on October 31, 2020 Reuters

Healthcare workers, vulnerable populations including the elderly to be the first to receive it

Canada on Wednesday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, days after Britain became the first country to greenlight and roll it out.

"Today, Canada reached a critical milestone in its fight against Covid-19 with the authorization of the first Covid-19 vaccine," Health Canada said in a statement.

The vaccine, it said, had undergone a fast-tracked review while it was still in clinical trials, which concluded that it met "stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements for use in Canada”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that as many as 249,000 doses would be received in December, with the first shipments to 14 sites across Canada arriving as early as next week and people receiving shots a day or two later.

Healthcare workers and vulnerable populations including the elderly are to be the first to receive it.

By September 2021, Trudeau said, most Canadians should be inoculated.

Also Read- UK issues allergy warning on Pfizer vaccine after two adverse reactions

Thousands of Britons became the first in the Western world to receive the vaccine on Tuesday at the start of the biggest global vaccination drive in more than half a century.

The vaccine — which proved to be 95% effective in late-stage clinical trials — is administered in two doses, 21 days apart.

British health officials, however, warned on Wednesday that anyone with a history of significant allergic reactions should not get it right away, after two people suffered allergic reactions and needed treatment.

US giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech called Canada's interim order for its emergency use "a historic moment in our collective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic" and "a major step towards returning to normalcy in Canada”.

They will continue providing data on its use for ongoing evaluation, according to Canada's health department.

The federal government, meanwhile, has concluded pre-orders with several pharmaceutical companies — including AstraZeneca, Pfizer and BioNTech, Sanofi and GSK, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Medicago and Moderna — for 400 million doses, to ensure it eventually gets what it needs for its population of 38 million.