Canada joins UK: Health Canada, Canada’s health regulatory body has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, becoming third country after UK and Bahrain to do so. The body has called vaccine authorization as a “milestone” in North American country’s fight against the global coronavirus crisis.
The vaccine was approved by agency after it was found to have met the regulatory body’s “stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements”. This has cleared the vaccine doses to be delivered by Pfizer and administered across the country.
Following the approval, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada will receive at least 249,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine by the end of this month. It is to be noted that Canada has purchased 20 million doses of the vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech. This will inoculate 10 million people as vaccine requires two jabs to be administered per person at an interval of 21 days. Canada also has an option to buy an additional 56 million doses under the agreement with pharma giant.
UK, after approving the vaccine last week for emergency use, started its vaccination drive this Tuesday. A 90 year old UK grandmother became the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
United States too has confirmed the vaccine to have 95% efficacy, clearing its path for authorization by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The regulators are set to meet on Thursday to formally review the vaccine’s use in US.
In Canada 14 distribution sites have been equipped with all the necessary cold storage requirements for the vaccine which requires -70C temperature for storage. The priority groups to receive vaccine include healthcare workers, and at high risk groups like elderly. Canada has also authorized vaccine to be administered to people over 16 years of age.
The Pfizer vaccine is required to be given in two doses. Day 12 onwards from the first jab, immunity starts to build up in body. The second dose is to be given on day 21, and full immunity is reached on day 28.
UK has issued jab warning regarding delaying vaccinating people with history of allergies (to medicine, food or vaccines) after two NHS staff workers developed serious anaphylactic reactions after getting vaccinated. These staff members had history of allergies.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director says that these reactions are “common with new vaccine”. Issuing a warning is just a precautionary measure.
Health Canada officials too have advised people with allergy history to delay getting vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine. Plan is to monitor developments in UK and then chalk out modus operandi regarding this.
Canada also has contracts with other vaccine manufacturers. Trudeau says that all Canadians will be vaccinated by September 2021. A network of organizations, called The People’s Vaccine Alliance, claims that Canada has ordered enough vaccines to give each Canadian vaccine at least 5 times, provided all vaccines receive authorization for use. The alliance includes Amnesty International, Oxfam and Global Justice Now.