Health Canada approves Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Health Canada has approved Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in this country, paving the way for thousands of doses to arrive by the end of the month.

The federal ministry announced the approval Wednesday after completing a review of the company’s clinical trial data.

The Moderna vaccine was found to be 94.1% effective, Health Canada said in an advisory authorizing the use of the vaccine.

“No significant safety concerns have been identified and no life-threatening adverse events (AEs) or deaths related to the vaccine,” the advisory said.

This is the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by Health Canada. The department approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine on December 9, and it is already being administered in parts of the country to people in high priority groups, including healthcare workers as well as long-term care workers and the residents.

Moderna vaccine requires 2 doses

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Massachusetts-based Moderna’s vaccine requires two doses to achieve maximum immunity. It uses mRNA technology – a new vaccine technology that directs cells to produce proteins that trigger an immune response to prevent or fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

Moderna approval means vaccinations can begin in northern, remote, and Indigenous communities, as Moderna vaccine storage requirements are less onerous than those required for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would receive up to 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of December, and deliveries would begin within 48 hours of Health Canada’s approval.

In August, Canada placed an order for 20 million doses of Moderna. Earlier this month, Supply Minister Anita Anand announced that the government would exercise its contractual option for 20 million more doses in 2021. Canada could still purchase up to 16 million more doses.

Related Article: Vaccination begins Thursday in Mexico

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