Canada approves Moderna as second Covid-19 vaccine: health dept
Canada has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by American biotech firm Moderna, the health department announced Wednesday, two weeks after authorizing immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.
The authorization is a "critical step," the statement continued.
The Moderna vaccine can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), much warmer than Pfizer's vaccine which must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), making it easier to distribute.
Canada began vaccinating people in high-risk categories -- including frontline health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities -- on December 14, with its relatively limited supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a cutting-edge technology based on mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) which makes the human cells they enter express a surface protein of the new coronavirus.
This simulates an infection and trains the immune system to be ready in case it encounters the real virus.
The country will share any excess doses with other countries, Trudeau has said.
Canada plans to vaccinate three million people by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The country, where the spread of the virus accelerated as the holiday season approached, on Wednesday had recorded more than 523,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 14,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic.