Canada has become the second country after the UK to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and may start immunizing residents from next week.
On Wednesday, the country’s health regulator, Health Canada, posted on its website that it had authorized the jab after a two-month independent review on safety and efficacy.
‘Canadians can feel confident that the review process was rigorous and that we have strong monitoring systems in place,’ a government department statement read.
‘Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety of the vaccine once it is on the market and will not hesitate to take action if any safety concerns are identified.’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that Canada would get up to 249,000 doses of the vaccine before the end of December, with 4 million doses of the vaccine expected by March 2021.
Canada has purchased 20 million doses of this vaccine, with an option to buy 56 million more.
Health Canada is currently reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna.
According to the country’s health regulator, the immunization is only approved for Canadians above the age of 16 but may later be recommended to include children once Pfizer releases more data from its ongoing clinical trials. Two jabs are required for full protection, as the 249,000 doses will be enough to vaccinate 124,500 by year’s end.
The news comes a day after the UK began administering Pfizer’s jab becoming the first country to approve Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.