Canada approves fourth COVID vaccine

Canada approves fourth COVID vaccine Photo: Johnson & Johnson

from Associated Press reports
Updated: March 05, 2021 02:18 PM
Created: March 05, 2021 09:49 AM

Canada is getting a fourth vaccine to prevent COVID-19 as the country's health regulator has cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are eager for a one-and-done option to help speed vaccination.

Canada has also approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca and Health Canada is the first major regulator to approve four difference vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine does not yet have approval in the U.S.

Like many countries, Canada does not have domestic production and has struggled with an immediate shortage of vaccines. The U.S. isn't exporting locally made vaccines, so neighbors Canada and Mexico have been forced to get vaccines from Europe and Asia.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Thursday he's disappointed that President Joe Biden hasn't changed the stance on exporting vaccines.

The U.S. approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last month. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says one dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness in a massive study that spanned three continents.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 10 million doses between now and September. It was not immediately clear when Canada would get its first shipment.

But Trudeau announced Pfizer will be delivering an additional 1.5 million doses to Canada in March and another 1 million doses ahead of schedule in both April and May.

J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. The company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year.

The vaccine shortage is so acute in Canada that provincial governments are now saying they will extend the interval between the two doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines to four months rather than three to four weeks so they can quickly inoculate more people.

Canadians 80 and above in the general public are only starting to get vaccinated this month and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said this week that extending the dose interval to four months would allow as many as 80% of Canadians over the age of 16 to receive a single dose by the end of June simply with the expected supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Second doses would begin to be administered in July as more shipments arrive, the panel said.

Canada also faces the prospect of vaccine delivery disruptions from the European Union. A shipment of over a quarter million AstraZeneca vaccines destined for Australia has been blocked from leaving the European Union in the first use of an export control system instituted by the bloc to make sure big pharma companies respect their local contracts.

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from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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