Canada could receive 1st batch of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine next week

Canada has secured an agreement to receive its first batch of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada is contracted to receive up to 249,000 of the initial doses in December.

Pending approval from Health Canada, Trudeau said the first shipment of doses is “tracking for delivery next week” and that shipments will continue to arrive in 2021.

“We’re facing the largest immunization in the history of our country,” he said.

Read more: Canada’s review of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be completed ‘soon,’ health minister says

“This is no small task, which is why we have a clear plan. Our government, through the National Operations Center, has been working with the provinces and territories to ensure we’re ready to roll out vaccine doses as soon as they’re approved and delivered.”

Canada has signed on to buy at least 20 million doses from the American pharmaceutical company, with the first four million tentatively slated to arrive in the first three months of 2021. The deal also gives Canada the option to buy another 56 million doses.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses.

The company’s final analysis from its clinical trials shows its vaccine is 95 per cent effective, has no serious side effects, and protects older adults.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canadian officials expect Pfizer vaccine ‘likely’ to arrive first' 1:27 Coronavirus: Canadian officials expect Pfizer vaccine ‘likely’ to arrive first

Coronavirus: Canadian officials expect Pfizer vaccine ‘likely’ to arrive first

Canada has been reviewing Pfizer’s vaccine alongside the United States and Europe, but the U.K. was the first Western country to give emergency authorization to a candidate.

Britain approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Dec. 2.

It intensified pressure on regulators in both the U.S. and Canada, and ultimately cleared the way for a massive vaccination campaign in the U.K., which is due to begin this week.

Read more: Will Canada lag behind on coronavirus vaccines? It’s complicated, experts say

Health Canada’s review of Pfizer’s candidate is still ongoing but is expected to be completed soon, according to officials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet on Dec. 10 to consider whether to give the vaccine the go-ahead.

Russia and China approved vaccines without waiting for large-scale efficacy tests to be completed.

This is a breaking news story. More information to come.

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