FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2020, file photo, a general view of Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium in Puurs, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2020, file photo, a general view of Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium in Puurs, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

COVID-19: Canada to get 249,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine in December, Trudeau says

Vaccine is still pending Health Canada approval

Canada is expecting to receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday (Dec. 7).

“The first shipment of doses is tracking for delivery next week,” Trudeau said at a morning press conference in Ottawa. “

“This will move us forward on our whole timeline”

The Pfizer vaccine must still receive Health Canada approval before it is distributed. Trudeau said that if the vaccine is approved this week, the first Canadians will begin to get vaccinated next week.

In total, Canada is expected to get between 20 million and 76 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine requires two doses and is up to 95 per cent effective, Pfizer said, and Trudeau confirmed the first doses will vaccinate just short of 125,000 people. It has already received approval in the U.K.

READ MORE: UK gears up for huge vaccination plan watched by the world

Federal and provincial governments are working on the country’s first 14 vaccination sites. At prior press conferences, federal officials have that Pfizer will handle delivery of their vaccine to point-of-use sites. The Pfizer vaccine comes with one major challenge; it must be stored and shipped at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit). Canada has ordered 126 freezers for vaccine storage, 26 of which are ultra-cold freezers for the Pfizer option.

Trudeau said the most vulnerable will be vaccinated first, which is expected to include residents and health-care workers at the country’s hard hit long-term care facilities. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has said that following that, the vaccine will be prioritized for people aged 80 and older, with it being released in five-year increments to age 70 as more supply becomes available. The other priority groups will include health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities, where “infection can have disproportionate consequences.”

The prime minister said this was “the largest mobilization of vaccines in Canada’s history” and that the rollout plan would be complex. Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said a dry run with the Pfizer vaccine is being conducted this week.

Canada has hedged its bet on successful vaccine candidates, and is scheduled to receive:

  • 20 to 70 million doses of the Pfizer messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate developed with BioNTech, BNT162b2
  • Up to 76 million doses of the Medicago virus-like particle vaccine candidate
  • Up to 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine candidate AZD1222
  • Up to 72 million doses of the Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline protein subunit vaccine candidate
  • Up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S
  • Up to76 million doses of the Novavax protein subunit vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373
  • Up to 56 million doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine candidate mRNA-1273.

Health officials have promised that the COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Canadians, but will not be made mandatory.

READ MORE: Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Correction: In the initial story, it said the 249,000 doses would vaccinate 125 million people. It is 125,000 people; each person requires two doses.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeauvaccinesvideo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The avalanche came down on the highway sometime Sunday evening (Feb. 21) (Dawson photo)
Road to Bella Coola wharf reopens after large avalanche

The road was closed after a large avalanche covered a significant portion of the highway

Jenni Mueller lives near the wharf on the other side of the avalanche. She took this photo and thinks the avalanche happened around 8 p.m. last night (February 21). (Jenni Mueller photo)
Avalanche closes road to wharf at Bella Coola

A day and night of heavy rain resulted in avalanches across the region

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

Williams Lake First Nation government staff are anticipated to return to work Monday, Jan. 25. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Court orders new hearing over Williams Lake First Nation’s century-old land dispute

A three-judge panel unanimously set aside a 2018 finding by the Specific Claims Tribunal

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read