The first shipments of Canada’s 40-million-dose order of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will arrive “in the coming days,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.
Speaking during a press conference outside his home, Trudeau said that Canada is also set to receive an additional quarter-of-a-million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Trudeau’s comments come after Health Canada announced it has approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, making it the second COVID-19 vaccine available in the country.
The federal health agency received Moderna’s submission in October and has approved the vaccine “after a thorough, independent review of the evidence” it says on its website.
Moderna’s vaccine has “different storage and handling requirements” compared to the Pfizer vaccine, meaning it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories.
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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.”