"We're just better": Canada beats US in COVID-19 vaccine approval

Dec 9 2020, 10:48 am

The global race to see who would receive the COVID-19 vaccine first now puts Canada ahead of the US.

On Wednesday, Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

When Dr. Supriya Sharma, Senior Medical Advisor to the Deputy Minister, was asked by a reporter if she could explain how Health Canada beat the FDA, she responded, “We’re just better.”

While the response garnered some laughter in the room, she quickly added, “we’re not in a race with any other regulator. What we’re trying to do is beat the virus and working against this virus.”

The senior medical advisor added that they’re watching what is happening in the US and will have members of Health Canada and the public health agency listen in on the FDA’s committee deliberations happening tomorrow. But, Sharma said there is no new data being shared at the meeting.

Pfizer Canada and BioNTech will supply Canada’s Government with a minimum of 20 million doses — and up to 76 million doses — of the vaccine through 2021.

Canadian health officials have said they will procure up to 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with the option to purchase an additional 220 million. The first three million will be available in the first quarter of 2021.

There are currently two vaccines up for approval in the US: one by Pfizer Inc. in partnership with BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH and the other by Moderna Inc.

Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meetings will take place on December 10 and December 17 to discuss the request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines.

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