Moderna Shot Gets Approval in Canada’s Expanding Vaccine Effort

Canada’s public health authorities approved Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine, the second shot to be licensed in a country that’s secured more doses per person than any other around the world.

“Today’s authorization is a critical step in ensuring additional Covid-19 vaccines are available to all Canadians in all parts of the country,” Health Canada said in a statement Wednesday. “The different storage and handling requirements of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine mean that it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories.”

Approval of the Moderna shot will allow Canada to expand its vaccination campaign beyond initial inoculation sites in urban centers. Northern regions have specifically requested doses from the Massachusetts-based company due to less cumbersome logistical requirements.

Moderna Shot Gets Approval in Canada’s Expanding Vaccine Effort

The Moderna shot was cleared for use Friday by the Food and Drug Administration, making it the second vaccine authorized in the U.S. as well. Doses began shipping on Sunday.

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine was approved in Canada on Dec. 9, marking the start of the nation’s largest-ever inoculation campaign. Health officials received an initial shipment of 30,000 doses and began to administer them to long-term care patients in Quebec and health workers in Ontario, among others.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government expects vaccination to be complete in the country of 38 million by the end of 2021. Canada is averaging about 6,600 new Covid-19 cases a day, more than triple what it saw during the first wave in April and May. The virus has killed more than 14,400 people in Canada so far.

With Wednesday’s approval, Canada expects to receive 417,000 doses of vaccine by the end of the year. Moderna has agreed to deliver an initial 168,000 units within 48 hours, Trudeau told reporters Dec. 15 in Ottawa. The bulk of the 249,000 promised by Pfizer-BioNTech are expected soon as well.

The government aims to have 70 inoculation sites established across the country as of this week, up from the 14 sites currently operating.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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