Canada to receive early shipment of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before year’s end
Moderna vaccine will start arriving within two days of the vaccine's authorization by Health Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has signed a contract to receive up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of December.
The Moderna vaccine is still in the final stages of its review by Health Canada but Trudeau says deliveries could begin within 48 hours of the department’s experts giving it the green light.
Canada has contracted to receive two million doses from Moderna by the end of March, and 40 million by the end of 2021. But initially the first doses weren’t going to arrive until January.
Now they will start arriving within two days of the vaccine’s authorization by Health Canada. The Moderna vaccine’s less stringent storage requirements will allow remote communities and northern territories to start receiving vaccine for the first time.
Health Canada approved the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech Dec. 9 and injections began in Ontario and Quebec on Dec. 14, with most provinces on track to deliver their first vaccinations by the end of the week. There are 30,000 doses arriving this week, and Trudeau said 200,000 more will arrive next week.
In all there should be 417,000 vaccine doses in Canada before Dec. 31, which will be distributed to provinces and territories based on population share, but the territories will get all of their doses from Moderna.
Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, told The Canadian Press the department’s review of Moderna’s vaccine is in the final stages. She said the final clinical data from the Massachusetts-based biotech company were received Dec. 11, and the final data on the manufacturing process is expected before the end of the week.
Pfizer is shipping its doses to Canada from its manufacturing facility in Belgium but Canada has contracted FedEx to bring over the Moderna vaccine from Europe. Health-logistics firm Innomar will use its network of cold-storage facilities to receive the Moderna doses and repackage them for deliveries to the provinces and territories.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the vice-president of logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said a dry-run of the Moderna delivery is taking place Tuesday.