December 7, 2020 – “When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready” – Minister of Health Patty Hajdu

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Minister of Health Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health Patty Hajdu

OTTAWA – COVID-19 Update – Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced today that following successful negotiations, Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine.

“We continue to prepare for distribution with provinces and territories, as experts and scientists of the government of Canada are assessing the safety of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Canadians can be confident that when a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready,” promises Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North.

These doses are part of the up to 76 million doses Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Pfizer. As with all COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be authorized by Health Canada before being administered to Canadians.

Pfizer, the Public Health Agency of Canada with the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Provinces and Territories are working together to finalize preparations at the first point-of-use sites this week, including training on how to handle the product, which must be transported and stored at -70 degrees Celsius.

Important logistical tests are planned, beginning with a dry run with Pfizer this week, led by the National Operations Centre. This dry run will be used to confirm the ordering, shipping and importation processes from the point of manufacture to the point of use across Canada. In this initial dry run with Pfizer, a shipping container with dry ice and a data-logger will simulate a shipment of the vaccine.

The Government of Canada expects to conduct other rehearsals to confirm ordering and shipping processes for additional vaccines as they become available. These test activities are important to ensure that the Provinces and Territories have the necessary infrastructure and equipment in place and are able to plan to effectively and efficiently administer COVID-19 vaccines as they roll-out.

Pfizer submitted an application for regulatory review of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate under Health Canada’s interim order on October 9, 2020. Results of this review are expected soon.

“The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing the world’s most extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive doses once they are authorized for use.” states Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.