First doses of COVID-19 vaccine to land in Canada next week

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says up to 249,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on Canadian soil by the end of the month, with the first doses delivered next week.

Health Canada is set to approve the vaccine from American-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for use in Canada within days.

Canada is set to receive four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by March, beginning this month, which is enough to inoculate two million people with two doses each.

The federal government has purchased 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and has the option to buy 56 million more.

Pfizer needs to store its vaccine at ultracold temperatures – below -70 C – and so the company is planning to ship the doses directly to provinces.

Health Canada is also reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna, which is set to deliver two million doses to Canada in the first quarter of 2021.

“It has been a difficult year, and we are not out of this crisis yet,” Trudeau said Monday at a news conference in Ottawa.

“But now, vaccines are coming.”

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that provinces and territories give their first doses to residents and staff of long-term care homes and adults 80 years of age or older.