Canada receives first shipment of Moderna COVID vaccines


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

Canada has received its first shipment of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccines, 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 is part of the 168,000 doses that Canada expects to receive by the end of December.

“These are part of the 168,000 doses we receive before the end of the month and part of the 40 million doses that we are generally guaranteed from Moderna,” he tweeted.

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

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

Modern’s COVID-19 shot is the second approved in Canada after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is already being administered to healthcare professionals and residents of long-term care homes in several provinces.

Unlike the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not need to be kept at extremely low freezing temperatures, and Canadian officials said they plan to ship it to more remote areas of the country.

“The different storage and handling requirements for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine mean that it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories,” Health Canada said this week.

Anita Anand, Canada’s public services and procurement minister, tweeted on Thursday that the first Moderna shipment “will be the first # COVID19 vaccine deployed in northern Canada”.

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

Pauline Frost said the Yukon expects to receive an initial shipment of 7,200 doses of the vaccine to inoculate 3,600 people with two shots.

“The Yukon will receive adequate doses to vaccinate 75 percent of the eligible adult population by early 2021,” Frost said, adding that long-term care residents and staff would receive the vaccine first.

Canada is fighting for an increase in COVID-19 cases and admissions across the country.

On Thursday, the most populous province, Ontario, reported 2,477 new COVID-19 infections – its highest single-day count since the start of the pandemic – and 49 more deaths associated with the new coronavirus.

Health officials in neighboring Quebec also reported a single day height with 2,349 new cases as well as 46 more deaths.

Both the governments of Quebec and Ontario are preparing to impose new restrictions in the coming days as part of their efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

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