The Government of Canada is fulfilling its promise to ensuring that as soon as possible, Canadians have access to secure and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
On Monday, 7 December 2020, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Honourable Anita Anand, announced that after fruitful talks, in December 2020, Canada will obtain up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, subject to Health Canada vaccine clearance.
These doses are part of approximately 76 million doses secured by Canada under its current deal with Pfizer. Health Canada must approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before it is given to Canadians like other COVID-19 Vaccine candidates.
This week, Pfizer, the Canadian Public Health Agency for the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Provinces and Territories are working together to finalize arrangements at the first point-of-use sites. It includes instruction on how to treat the product that needs to be shipped and processed at -70 degrees Celsius.
This week, vital logistical tests are planned, starting with a dry run with Pfizer, headed by the National Operations Centre. This run would be used to validate the ordering, shipment, processes from production to use across Canada. A shipping container with dry ice and a data logger can simulate a vaccine shipment in this initial dry run with Pfizer.
In order to validate ordering and shipping procedures for additional vaccinations once they become available, the Government of Canada plans to perform other rehearsals. These exercises are vital to ensuring that the provinces and territories have the necessary equipment and services in place. They must be in a position to prepare for the safe and efficient administration of COVID-19 vaccines as they roll-out.
On October 9, 2020, an application for a regulatory review of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been submitted by Pfizer. The company submitted the application under an interim order from Health Canada. Pfizer expects the results of this analysis soon.
Ontario Recognizes key groups for the distribution of initial vaccines for COVID-19
As soon as the vaccines are received, the Ontario government is willing to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Starting with vaccinating vulnerable populations and those who care for them in the province.
The province has identified key populations who receive the vaccine first. Long-term care and retirement home residents and the personnel who provide care to these groups, as recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and in line with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. The approach of the government is to prioritize population groups with the highest risks of COVID-19.
In the first few months of the Ontario immunization program, groups receiving the early vaccine doses will include:
- Residents, employees, essential caregivers, and other staff of congregational living environments (e.g. long-term care homes and retirement homes). These people are, who provide care to seniors as they are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and serious illness;
- Health care staff, including hospital staff, other hospital staff working or studying, and other health care staff;
- Adults in indigenous communities, including remote communities where there is a high risk of transmission,
- Recipients of chronic health care-Adults