Ottawa, Dec 23 (AFP/APP): Canada has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by American biotech firm Moderna, the health department announced Wednesday, two weeks after authorizing immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.
The decision makes Canada the second country to greenlight the Moderna vaccine, after the US. “Health Canada… has determined that the Moderna vaccine meets the department’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements,” it said in a statement.
The authorization is a “critical step,” the statement continued. “The different storage and handling requirements of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine mean that it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories,” it added.
The Moderna vaccine can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), much warmer than Pfizer’s vaccine which must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), making it easier to distribute.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said previously that Canada is set to receive up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine before the end of December, part of the guaranteed 40 million it has secured.
Delivery could begin within 48 hours of the Moderna vaccine’s approval, he said earlier this month.
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