With Canada’s COVID-19 rollout officially underway, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new deal to bring more vaccines into the country.
Speaking on Tuesday, Trudeau said Canada is in agreement to acquire up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December.
That is pending Health Canada approval.
“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.
“The regulatory process for the Moderna vaccine is ongoing, and again, I want to assure Canadians that any vaccine approved in Canada will be both safe and effective.”
Trudeau also said Canada will obtain an additional 200,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine coming within the next week. Canada plans to have 70 vaccination sites as well, up from 14 this week.
The first 30,000 Pfizer doses are arriving this week and vaccinations have already begun in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a report confirming the effectiveness and safety of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The agency says they will make a final decision on the vaccine after a full panel review offers their recommendation on Thursday.
The report shows the vaccine to be 94 percent effective at preventing the virus and 86 percent effective in people over the age of 65.
Moderna’s vaccine is made with the same technology as they already approved Pfizer vaccine and the FDA has found that it is approximately as effective.
Both vaccines require each individual to get two doses to be effective. The Moderna vaccine has been touted as being easier to ship to remote communities since the Pfizer shot’s -70 C storage temperature makes it difficult to stock and transport.
Health Canada is also reviewing vaccines from AstraZaneca and Johnson & Johnson, these reviews remain in the early stages.
The largest mass immunization effort in Canadian history began Monday in Ontario and Quebec after the country received its first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Ontario received 6,000 doses of the vaccine with another 90,000 doses expected to arrive by the end of the year. Ontario is set to receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine upon approval.
With files from the Associated Press and Canadian Press.