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Moderna Vaccine Days Away From Approval In Canada?

Canadian citizens have been receiving jabs since Monday after the first 30 000 doses were delivered. Justin Trudeau has claimed that 200 000 more Pfizer/BioNtech doses will be delivered next week. According to the reports, the Moderna vaccine may also be available to Canadian before Christmas as it nears approval by Health Canada. 

Canada Secures More Doses Than It Needs

Canada has a population of roughly 38 million citizens. The country has decided to buy up 76 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and as many as 414 million doses of vaccines from other companies that are likely to be approved in the upcoming weeks or months. Although the country has secured far more doses than it needs, this can be explained by the fact that if a certain amount of vaccines is delayed or there is an issue with some doses, there is still a sufficient supply for the country’s population. 

Focus On High-Risk Citizens Until Early Spring

The majority of the doses are expected to arrive in Canada during the new year. Up until early March, Canada is expecting to receive 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 2 million doses of the Moderna’s vaccine, given the assumption it will be approved soon.  Thus, the initial supply is rather small and set to include only the top-priority groups that are in the highest demand for the vaccine. The New York Times reports that up until early Spring, Canada will most likely focus on high-risk citizens. 

Canada has performed its own independent audit of the vaccine and its safety, including clinical trials with tens of thousands of participants. 

Does it mean the restriction will be lifted soon? 

That is unlikely. One must remember that vaccinating even half of the citizens in the largely populated countries will take months. Thus, the unvaccinated part of the population will remain at risk of the Covid-19’s complications. Thus, if the vaccine process around the world is uninterrupted and speedy, we could go back to normal by the summer or early fall of 2021. 

What about the Moderna vaccine?

The Moderna vaccine has been in evaluation since mid-October. Officials have said that the authorization may be right around the corner and Moderna’s vaccine approval will go through soon and the jab will likely be ready for use at the end of December. While the clinical data has fully been reviewed, Health Canada still waits for manufacturing plants data from Moderna. 

It is likely for Canada to receive up to 168, 000 Moderna doses by the end of the year. That would help in the distribution and process of vaccination among the indigenous communities and communities living far up north. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored in extremely cold temperatures of approximately -70 degrees celsius, complicating the transport. Thus, the Moderna vaccine approval is long-awaited. 

What is the priority based on?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has issued preliminary guidance that outlines the recommendations on how to distribute and prioritize the vaccine among the citizens. The reports state that the priority shall be given to: 

“Those at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19

  • Advanced age

  • Other high-risk conditions (to be defined as the evidence base evolves)

Those most likely to transmit COVID-19 to those at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and workers essential to maintaining the COVID-19 response

  • Healthcare workers, personal care workers, and caregivers providing care in long-term care facilities, or other congregate care facilities for seniors

  • Other workers most essential in managing the COVID-19 response or providing frontline care for COVID-19 patients

  • Household contacts of those at high-risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19

After the first days with the vaccination program, we see that there is no uniformity across the provinces. In some provinces, the first people to be vaccinated are the oldest citizens, in other provinces, healthcare workers are the first ones to get vaccinated. 

There is likely no uniformity to be seen after the Moderna vaccine approval either.

Are some territories worse off? 

While there have been arguments about the provinces receiving a different treatment, especially the indigenous communities up north.Canadian government answers to the critique saying that due to different demographic and geographic conditions, as well as unequal development of the disease, it has not been possible. 

Trudeau assured on Tuesdays that the special equipment is being shipped to the indigenous communities and those living far up north so the vaccine can be stored.

Moderna jab does not have such extreme storing conditions and, thus, facilitates the transport conditions. The Canadian government has a contract with Moderna that will ensure a 48 hour delivery of the first doses of the vaccine, right after Health Canada authorizes the Moderna vaccine approval.

Nel Tomczyk
Nel Tomczyk
Nel is a writer for RegTech Global. From her past experience, she gained a deep understanding of fintech, AI, regulations, and new technologies. She has vast experience in journalism and entrepreneurship.


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