FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2020, file photo, a general view of Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium in Puurs, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2020, file photo, a general view of Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium in Puurs, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

COVID-19: Canada to get 249,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine in December, Trudeau says

Vaccine is still pending Health Canada approval

Canada is expecting to receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday (Dec. 7).

“The first shipment of doses is tracking for delivery next week,” Trudeau said at a morning press conference in Ottawa. “

“This will move us forward on our whole timeline”

The Pfizer vaccine must still receive Health Canada approval before it is distributed. Trudeau said that if the vaccine is approved this week, the first Canadians will begin to get vaccinated next week.

In total, Canada is expected to get between 20 million and 76 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine requires two doses and is up to 95 per cent effective, Pfizer said, and Trudeau confirmed the first doses will vaccinate just short of 125,000 people. It has already received approval in the U.K.

READ MORE: UK gears up for huge vaccination plan watched by the world

Federal and provincial governments are working on the country’s first 14 vaccination sites. At prior press conferences, federal officials have that Pfizer will handle delivery of their vaccine to point-of-use sites. The Pfizer vaccine comes with one major challenge; it must be stored and shipped at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit). Canada has ordered 126 freezers for vaccine storage, 26 of which are ultra-cold freezers for the Pfizer option.

Trudeau said the most vulnerable will be vaccinated first, which is expected to include residents and health-care workers at the country’s hard hit long-term care facilities. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has said that following that, the vaccine will be prioritized for people aged 80 and older, with it being released in five-year increments to age 70 as more supply becomes available. The other priority groups will include health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities, where “infection can have disproportionate consequences.”

The prime minister said this was “the largest mobilization of vaccines in Canada’s history” and that the rollout plan would be complex. Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said a dry run with the Pfizer vaccine is being conducted this week.

Canada has hedged its bet on successful vaccine candidates, and is scheduled to receive:

  • 20 to 70 million doses of the Pfizer messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate developed with BioNTech, BNT162b2
  • Up to 76 million doses of the Medicago virus-like particle vaccine candidate
  • Up to 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine candidate AZD1222
  • Up to 72 million doses of the Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline protein subunit vaccine candidate
  • Up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S
  • Up to76 million doses of the Novavax protein subunit vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373
  • Up to 56 million doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine candidate mRNA-1273.

Health officials have promised that the COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Canadians, but will not be made mandatory.

READ MORE: Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Correction: In the initial story, it said the 249,000 doses would vaccinate 125 million people. It is 125,000 people; each person requires two doses.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeauvaccinesvideo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those aged 40 or older

There are more than 70 pharmacies offering AstraZeneca, including 26 offering walk-in appointments

A child writes in their school notebook during a home schooling session in Cremona, Alta., Monday, March 23, 2020, amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of students in Calgary will shift to online learning as of today in a bid to curb rising COVID-19 infection rates in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Online classes begin for some Alberta students amid rising COVID-19 cases

Alberta currently has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country

Volunteers participate in a work-bee at J.J. Collett Natural Area on March 27. (Photo Submitted)
J.J. Collett natural area proceeding with projects

The nature area appeared on a list of parks and nature areas that were “underutilized” by UCP

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Most Read