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Canada’s health regulator approved Pfizer’s on Wednesday COVID-19 vaccine, days before possible approval in the United States.
Health Canada posted on its website that the vaccine manufactured by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German BioNTech is licensed. The vaccine has already been UK approved and Bahrain and officials have said they expect US approval in a few days.

“Canadians can trust that the review process was rigorous and that we have strong monitoring systems in place. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety of the vaccine once it is on the market and will not hesitate. to take action if a safety issue is identified, “Health Canada said in a statement.

A nurse administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London. (Getty)

Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses this month and Canadian officials expect to administer them in a few days.

US regulators also released their first scientific evaluation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, confirming that it offers robust protection. Vaccines are emerging from a relentless global race and are hitting the market less than a year after the virus was identified, a remarkable scientific achievement that took years out of the ordinary process.

The encouraging developments come as the coronavirus continues to rise across much of the world. The scourge has claimed more than 1.5 million lives, including more than 285,000 in the United States, the highest number of any country. Scientists from the US Food and Drug Administration will meet on Thursday, when independent advisers to the agency will debate whether the evidence is strong enough to recommend vaccinating millions of Americans.

“It is encouraging to see that our mRNA vaccine is now licensed in Canada. After the UK and Bahrain, it is the third country to approve the use of our vaccine in one week,” said Sean Marett, BioNTech’s Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Commercial Officer.

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Scientists at the US FDA re-analyzed the data and found that the Pfizer vaccine appears safe and more than 90 percent effective in patients of different ages, races, and underlying health conditions.

Health Canada said the vaccine is for use in people 16 and older, but noted that Pfizer-BioNTech is conducting more clinical trials in children of all ages and that could change.

Canada recently modified the contract with Pfizer to deliver up to 249,000 doses this month. That will mean that around 124,500 of the highest-risk Canadians will get vaccinated early on, as two doses per person are required a few weeks apart.

A vial of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ready for administration at Guy's Hospital at the start of the largest immunization program in UK history.
A vial of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ready for administration at Guy’s Hospital at the start of the largest immunization program in UK history. (Getty)

Pfizer and BioNTech said it will supply a minimum of 20 million doses to Canada through 2021 and up to 76 million.

Canada also has contracts with six other vaccine manufacturers.

The government has said that initially 14 distribution centers will be located in large Canadian cities. There will be at least one in each province and two in each of Canada’s four largest provinces.

“This is phenomenal news for all Canadians as we take the next step to end this pandemic. As soon as the vaccines hit Ontario soil, we will be ready to deliver and administer them,” said Ontario’s Prime Minister, Doug Ford, in a tweet.

– Reported with Associated Press

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