OTTAWA — Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, the first to be given the green light for national use.
Canada is set to receive four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by March, including up to 249,000 doses this month, with the first shipment set to arrive next week.
The federal government has purchased 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires people to receive two doses each, and has the option to buy 56 million more.
Pfizer needs to store its vaccine at ultracold temperatures — below -70 C — and so the company is planning to ship the doses directly to provinces.
Health Canada is reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna, which is set to deliver two million doses to Canada in the first quarter of 2021.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that provinces and territories give their first doses to residents and staff of long-term care homes and adults 80 years of age or older.