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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that delivery of up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in December. The first shipment could arrive as early as next week, pending Health Canada approval.
The manufacturer, the public health agency and provinces are working to finalize preparation for immunizations at the first 14 vaccination sites in Canada’s provinces. Millions of vaccine doses are expected to continue to arrive in 2021.
“While vaccines are on the horizon, remember they cannot protect you if you get COVID-19 now,” Trudeau said. “I know this winter will be hard, especially with the holidays fast approaching, but we’re coming into the final miles of this crisis so let’s all buckle down and do what’s necessary to keep ourselves and others safe.”
“Just because we’re getting closer to vaccines doesn’t mean we can afford to become complacent, and on the other hand, just because the numbers are spiking doesn’t mean we should give up in despair.”
The prime minister said the determinations made by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on vaccine prioritization will be “guiding” the federal government’s efforts on rolling out vaccines.
These priority groups include residents and staff of congregate living settings that provide care to seniors, adults 70 years of age and over (beginning with people over the age of 80), healthcare workers and adults in Indigenous communities.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin said the territories have indicated a “preference” to other vaccine candidates because of the “complexity” associated with distributing the Pfizer vaccine, which Trudeau says needs to be stored at -80 C.
“We have worked very closely with the premiers in the northern territories as well as Indigenous leaders across the country,” Trudeau said. “We know that they are a priority population and therefore, will be part of those initial three million does we’re expecting in the beginning of 2021.”
The prime minister indicated those three million doses are expected to be a combination of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.