Health Canada has given its approval for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna. With this, the vaccine can start rolling out in the country.
Canada’s federal department announced that it is authorizing the use of this vaccine for people over 18 on Wednesday. This approval came after the department reviewed the biotech company’s clinical trial data for the vaccine.
“The data provided supports favourably the efficacy of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine as well as its safety,” Health Canada said in the announcement.
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“There were no important safety issues identified and no life-threatening adverse events (AEs) or deaths related to the vaccine,” it added.
Last Dec. 9, Health Canada had authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is already being distributed in parts of Canada to health workers, care workers, and other high-priority residents.
Compared to the Pfizer vaccine, however, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is easier to store. Pfizer’s vaccine requires storage at -94 F, while Moderna’s can be stored at regular freezer temperatures.
Many health authorities in Canada welcome the Moderna vaccine’s easier storage requirements. It enables Canada to distribute vaccines in remote and Indigenous communities in the north.
“Since many Canadians live outside major urban areas, this vaccine can be used in communities that haven’t had access to covid 19-vaccines to date,” Health Canada’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said.
Sharma said that up to 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive in Canada before the end of the month. Additionally, Moderna has promised to provide up to 40 million doses to the country by the end of 2021.
Last week, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that deliveries of the vaccine would start within 48 hours after the authorization.
Moderna Vaccine Clinical Trial Results
The authorization was based on Moderna’s Phase 3 clinical trial results. It involves 30,000 people based in the U.S., where half of the trial population received the vaccine; the other received a placebo.
The trial shows that the vaccine has a 94.1 percent effectivity rate if administered to participants who never had COVID-19 before. It also has an 86.5 percent effectivity rate for older people aged 65 and up.
Similar to Pfizer’s vaccine, the Moderna vaccine also requires two doses for full inoculation. People should receive each dose one month apart.
With the authorization, Health Canada released some warnings. The department warned that individuals with allergies to any of the vaccine’s ingredients should not get the Moderna vaccine. Additionally, people with symptoms of COVID-19 should also opt not to get a shot.
Also, the department does not recommend the use of the vaccines on teens and young children at the moment as tests on the said age groups are still not finished.