Canada will receive 168,000 of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Tuesday.
The vaccine is still pending Health Canada approval, but once approved the vaccines would be delivered within 48 hours.
“Every step of the way, Health Canada needs to do its full, rigorous process,” Trudeau said.
The Moderna vaccine doesn’t need to be stored at -70°C like Pfizer’s, making it easier to transport. The vaccine will go towards remote and Indigenous communities.
Trudeau said people can rest assured that the vaccine will be going to populations that need it most.
Canada will be picking up the Moderna vaccine, unlike Pfizer, who delivers the doses to the sites directly.
And next week there will be 200,000 Pfizer vaccines delivered and 70 sites ready to administer the doses, up from 14 that were made ready this week.
Trudeau emphasized that all Canadians will have access to a free vaccine, even if private companies sell them.
On December 4, federal health officials said that Canada had “exercised” its option to purchase 20 million additional doses of Moderna’s vaccine candidate. This brings the total number of Moderna vaccines destined for Canada to 40 million.
Health Canada approved Pfizer’s vaccine candidate last week, and immunizations are expected to start as early as December 15. Up to 249,000 doses are expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
Canada has deals with seven vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, to procure up to 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Health officials have the option to purchase an additional 220 million doses if need be.