Health Canada approves Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Dec 23 2020, 3:54 pm

Health Canada has approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, making it the second available coronavirus shot in the country.

The department received Moderna’s submission in October and has approved the vaccine “after a thorough, independent review of the evidence,” says the federal health agency.

Moderna’s vaccine has “different storage an handling requirements” compared to the Pfizer vaccine, meaning it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories.

Health Canada has determined that the Moderna vaccine meets the “Department’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements.” The agency has published details regarding the newly approved vaccine, which includes a high-level summary of the evidence that was used to support the vaccine’s authorization.

The vaccine (mRNA-1273) is approved for people who are 18 years of age and older. Its safety and effectiveness in people younger than 18 has not yet been established.

Once Moderna’s vaccine is safely on the market, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will “closely monitor” the product and will not hesitate to “take action if any safety concerns are identified.”

The vaccine is given by an injection (0.5 mL) into the muscle of the arm. For the vaccine to be most effective, two doses are required, spaced out 28 days apart.

Based on studies in roughly 30,000 participants, Health Canada says the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94.1% effective in preventing the virus two weeks after the second dose meaning people may not be fully protected against coronavirus until at least 14 days after the second dose.

Moderna’s approval comes after the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was administered to Canadians across the country earlier in December.

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