Ontario’s Minister of Health says the province is expected to receive 2.4 million COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna between January and March 2021.
Christine Elliott made the announcement during a question period at Queen’s Park on November 18.
Of the initial 2.4 million vaccines destined for Ontario, 1.6 million will be from Pfizer, and 800,000 will be from Moderna. People will have to get two doses of the vaccines, 21 days apart.
Elliott called the time between doses a “major logistical challenge,” but noted that there is a designated group within the Ministry of Health planning for the issue.
Both companies announced promising breakthroughs in their COVID-19 trials this week.
On November 18, Pfizer announced that its vaccine has been 95% effective in clinical trials and caused no serious side effects. Canada signed a deal with the company in August to secure 20 million doses of the vaccine in 2021.
On November 16, Moderna said early analysis of its vaccine trial showed that it is 94.5% effective at preventing the virus.
The vaccines need to be kept at -75ºC and -20ºC, respectively, which make them difficult for doctor’s offices and pharmacies to store.
“With respect to the flu vaccine, we did prioritize people in long term care homes, people in hospitals, and people in congregate living settings, because they are the more vulnerable and they need to be protected,” Elliott said.
“Similarly, we will do the same with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.”
Earlier this month, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said that when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available there will be a limited supply at first.
Dr. Theresa Tam said that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has provided preliminary guidance on key populations that should be considered for the first round of vaccines, including those at high risk of developing severe illness.
All COVID-19 vaccines will need to be approved by Health Canada before they are distributed.