OTTAWA: Canada on Wednesday (December 23rd) approved Modern’s coronavirus vaccine, the second country to do so, paving the way for health authorities to step up a vaccination campaign against the worsening of the second wave.
Earlier this month, Ottawa gave the green light to the Pfizer vaccine, which authorities have begun giving to priority groups such as health workers and the elderly. So far, Canada has received a small portion of the 76 million doses it needs.
“After a thorough, independent review of the evidence, it has determined that the Moderna vaccine meets the stringent requirements of the Ministry of Safety, Efficacy and Quality,” the federal health ministry said in a statement.
Shares of the Cambridge-based Massachusetts-based company suffered earlier losses after the approval was announced, although they still traded 1.5 percent to $ 123.94.
The United States approved the Modern vaccine last Friday. It needs to be stored and delivered frozen, but does not require the ultra-cold shooting temperatures of Pfizer developed with German partner BioNTech.
“(That means) it can be distributed in isolated and remote communities,” the health ministry said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on December 15 that Canada had signed an agreement to receive up to 168,000 doses of the Modern vaccine before the end of December, after regulators gave final approval.
The second wave of the new coronavirus is hitting Canada, and medical officials in some parts of the country say the health care system is under dangerous pressure. Canada recorded a total of 14,425 deaths and 521,509 cases.
One of the potential threats is a new more contagious variant of the virus discovered in Britain. Canada imposed a 72-hour flight ban from Britain on Monday, with an announcement later Wednesday on whether the measure would be extended.
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