There has been a long wait especially from the health experts, to receive the coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine. In the morning of the 9th of December 2020, Health Canada announced that it had approved the vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech for COVID-19 and that it is now available and will be administered to the different provinces.
The federal health agency has deemed the vaccine effective and safe for use on Canadians, which means that the team responsible for the rollout of vaccines can now begin the process of administering them. Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma noted that her team worked tirelessly to review the data provided by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer-BioNTech for the vaccine against COVID-19. In order to get this vaccine approved so quickly, Health Canada went through an expedited approval process. This allowed them to review the clinical trial data as it became available, starting in October.
Dr.Sharma pointed out that Health Canada has conducted a comprehensive review of all data, as it does for all vaccines, unlike the British regulator, which has only issued an emergency authorization for a limited number of batches. “We concluded that there was strong evidence supporting that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks,” Dr.Sharma said. “We know that even the best vaccines will only be effective if people trust them, and ultimately agree to receive them. An important part of building trust is openness and transparency, ensuring that people have as much information as possible, to help them make informed decisions for themselves and for those they care for,” she said.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is prepared to ship to Canada by the end of the week. By the end of December, Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses of this vaccine, or enough to vaccinate 124,500 people, given it requires two 0.3 ml shots into the muscle of the arm, 21 days apart. In total, the federal government has purchased 20 million doses of the vaccine, and has an option to buy 56 million more doses.
The sensibilisations and different campaigns have started all across the country in order to get people to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Canada is hoping that by the end of June 2021, up to 19 million people would have been immunized, which is about almost 50 percent (50%) of the Canadian population. Then, between September and December the plan is to see all 38 million Canadians vaccinated. These latest projections are based on anticipated delivery schedules and are dependent on regulatory approvals of additional vaccines.
Canada is the third country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after the United Kingdom and Bahrain. The United States Food and Drug Administration is set to also give their go ahead to the vaccine this week.
In general, the side effects reported during the clinical trials are similar to those of other vaccines, and are considered “mild or moderate.” They include pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired and feeling feverish.The vaccine has been approved for people 16 years of age and older. Its safety and efficacy for young people under the age of 16 have not yet been demonstrated. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is not compulsory, will be free of charge and it will be administered in priority to those who are vulnerable and staying in long-term homes, plus those more at risk and including those with chronic illnesses among many others.