NEWS DEC 10 2020 – Health Canada approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

DOUG FORD – This is phenomenal news for all Canadians as we take the next step toward ending this pandemic. As soon as vaccines arrive on Ontario soil, we will be ready to deliver and administer them. Friends, the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter.

About 249,000 doses of the two-dose vaccine are expected to be on hand by year’s end

The federal government has given the green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, a key step toward launching the largest inoculation campaign in Canada’s history.

Health Canada announced the approval Wednesday after scientists finished a two-month review of the company’s clinical trial data.

“The data provided supports favourably the efficacy of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as well as its safety,” the department said in its report authorizing use of the vaccine in Canada for people over the age of 16.

“The efficacy of the vaccine was established to be approximately 95 per cent. The vaccine was well tolerated by participants and has no important safety concerns. The benefit-to-risk assessment for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is considered favourable.”

Canada is just the third country in the world to authorize the vaccine, after the United Kingdom and Bahrain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hear tomorrow from an advisory panel on whether the vaccine is safe for use in the United States and authorization is expected in “a matter of days,” U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said 249,000 doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine will be on hand by year’s end — shots primarily earmarked for long-term care home residents and the staff working there.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccination logistics at the national operations centre, said 30,000 doses out of the initial run will be shipped from a Pfizer plant in Belgium on Friday.

“We expect vaccines to arrive as early as Monday,” Fortin said, adding its “totally possible” some Canadians could get their shots by mid-week.