Canada receives first cargo of Moderna COVID vaccines | Coronavirus pandemic Information

Officials say the Moderna vaccine will be distributed to remote, isolated communities in northern Canada.

Canada has received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna Inc., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday as the country urged people to limit their contacts during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Trudeau said the first shipment of Moderna vaccines was part of the 168,000 doses Canada is expected to receive before the end of December.

“This is part of the 168,000 doses we will receive before the end of the month and part of the 40 million doses Moderna is guaranteeing us total,” he tweeted.

Health Canada on Wednesday approved the Moderna vaccine for use in Canada, stating that it met the agency’s “strict safety, efficacy and quality requirements”.

The first doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Canada. This is part of the 168,000 doses we will receive before the end of the month and part of the 40 million doses Moderna guarantees us in total.

– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 24, 2020

Canada is the second country to approve the Moderna vaccine after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for emergency use on December 18.

Moderna’s COVID-19 shot is the second vaccine approved in Canada after the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which is already being given to healthcare workers and nursing homes in several provinces.

Unlike the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored in extremely low freezing temperatures, and Canadian officials have announced they will be sending it to more remote areas of the country.

“Due to the varied storage and handling requirements of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the areas,” Health Canada said this week.

Anita Anand, Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement, tweeted Thursday that the first shipment of Moderna will be “the first # COVID19 vaccine used in northern Canada.”

1 / Just one day after Health Canada approved, I’m happy to be on hand when the Moderna vaccine arrives in 🇨🇦! This is the first shipment of a total of 40 million doses not sourced from Moderna by our government and will be the first # COVID19 vaccine used in northern Canada.

– Anita Anand (@AnitaOakville) December 24, 2020

The Minister of Health and Social Services in Yukon, one of northern Canada, said in a statement Wednesday that the approval of the Moderna vaccine “was exciting news that Yukoners have been waiting for”.

Pauline Frost said Yukon is expecting an initial shipment of 7,200 doses of the vaccine to vaccinate 3,600 people with two shots. As of Thursday morning, the area had no active cases of COVID-19.

“Yukon will be given enough doses in early 2021 to vaccinate 75 percent of the eligible adult population,” Frost said, adding that residents and long-term care workers would get the vaccine first.

Canada is grappling with a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country.

On Thursday, the most populous province, Ontario, reported 2,447 new COVID-19 infections – the highest daily number since the pandemic began – and 49 more deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials in neighboring Quebec also reported a daily high of 2,349 new cases and 46 more deaths.

Both the Quebec and Ontario governments are preparing to introduce new restrictions in the coming days to contain the spread of the virus.

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