TORONTO (AP) — Canada's health regulator on Wednesday approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, days ahead of possible approval in the United States, and say it hopes to start giving the shots next…
Health Canada said the terms of the approval require the manufacturer to continue providing information on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine.
Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses this month and Canadian officials expect to administer them within days.
Britain on Tuesday began vaccinations with the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech.
U.S. regulators on Tuesday also released their first scientific evaluation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and confirmed it offers strong protection. Vaccines are emerging from an all-out worldwide race and are reaching the market less than a year after the virus was even identified — a remarkable scientific achievement that shaved years off the usual process.
Health Canada said the vaccine is for use in people 16 years of age or older, but noted Pfizer-BioNTech are running further clinical trials on children of all age groups and that could change.
Canada recently amended the contract with Pfizer so that it would deliver up to 249,000 doses this month. That will mean about 124,500 of the highest risk Canadians will get vaccinated at first as two doses are required per person a few weeks apart.
The government has said 14 distribution centers will be located in large Canadian cities initially. There will be at least one in each province and two each in Canada’s four largest provinces.