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Health Canada approves third Covid-19 vaccine

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, March 8 2021—

The beginning of the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is potentially near as a new vaccine will be now available to Canadians in a matter of time. On Feb. 26, it was announced that the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in conjunction with Oxford University had met all the standards and requirements put in place by Health Canada. A similar version of the vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India received the green light as well. 

The top government health entity in the country expressed in a statement that the company had submitted their application of authorization on Oct. 1 of last year, while the one developed in India filed the necessary documentation a few months ago on Jan. 21.

“After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements,” read the statement

It was also noted that these new vaccines are the first ones in Canada that rely on the viral vector technology. This is when a different non-harmful virus is introduced to the body and delivers instructions to our cells, forcing the body “to mount a strong immune response against the spike protein without exposing you to the virus that causes COVID-19,” according to the government of Canada’s coronavirus webpage.

In a press release by Public Service and Procurement Canada, Anita Anand, the minister in charge of the department, mentioned that Canada is on track to have enough vaccines for the entire adult population by the end of the summer. 

“We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September.” said Anand.

The first shipment from the Serum Institute of India will be of 500,000 doses — of a two million deal — and is to arrive on March 3 as reported by the CBC. Three fifths of that amount will need to be quickly distributed and used as their expiration date is in one month.

In the first week of March, it is also expected that close to 445,000 vaccines from Pfizer will be delivered, summing up a total of nearly 945,000. While the week after more than 900,000 vaccines will be arriving in the country. 

Canada will be receiving a total of 24 million doses from AstraZeneca. A total of 20 million will be delivered from April to September and be shipped from the United States.

Health Canada recommended the usage of the British-made vaccine to all adults, while the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued a different recommendation. In a statement published on March 1, they noted that the vaccine “may be offered to individuals 18 to 64 years [old],” citing that insufficient information is available to fully assess the efficacy on elderly groups. 

The Minister of Health of Alberta Tyler Shandro mentioned that the province will not be using the AstraZeneca vaccine on anyone older than 65, as reported by Global News.

As of March 2, the number of administered doses amount to 2,018,238. This figure accounts for 80 per cent of the available vaccines to date. The Covid-19 Tracker Canada notes that 3.8 per cent of the Canadian population has received at least one dose. You can access more information about the federal government vaccine rollout as well as the forecasted allocation of vaccines, here.

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