Ontario to receive 2.4M doses of Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

Henrietta Brewer
November 20, 2020

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the companies would seek an emergency use authorisation on Friday from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

That's why so much hinges on other vaccines such as the Oxford AstraZeneca one, as they may be more scalable, and there are more advanced plans to get it to low- and middle-income countries through a UN-backed project called Covax.

United States officials have said they hope to have about 20 million vaccine doses each from Moderna and Pfizer available for distribution in late December.

During Question Period on Wednesday, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said she anticipates the province will receive more than two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the New Year.

Final results from Pfizer's trials indicates an efficacy rate of 95 per cent, while Moderna's preliminary results are about the same. In the new written release, Pfizer said its full data report involved more than 43,000 study participants and logged 170 cases of COVID-19-162 of which occurred among people receiving the placebo shot.

Health Canada is also still waiting to receive information from the sites where Pfizer's vaccine will be manufactured before it's able to grant approval. All of the COVID-19 cases in the study were confirmed after people reported symptoms of infection; researchers then looked at those who were positive for COVID-19 and compared the vaccinated and placebo groups for whether they developed more symptoms of the disease.

Ten severe cases were reported in the study, nine from the placebo group and one who had received the vaccine.

"Efficacy was consistent across age, race and ethnicity demographics". The vaccine was equally effective in older as well as younger people; the shot was 94% effective in protecting against COVID-19 illness among those over age 65. The only adverse effects experienced by volunteers were fatigue and headache.

"With respect to the flu vaccine, we did prioritize people in long term care homes, people in hospitals, and people in congregate living settings, because they are the more vulnerable and they need to be protected", Elliott said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a former scientist who has been praised for her handling of the coronavirus crisis so far, on Thursday said "we don't want to take any risks" on a vaccine, and that the latest news was encouraging.

Sahin and his wife Ozlem Tureci, both children of Turkish immigrants to Germany, founded BioNTech in Mainz in 2008.

This was followed by data on a vaccine made by U.S. company Moderna suggesting almost 95% protection and similarly promising results from trials of another developed in Russian Federation, called Sputnik.

"Based on current projections, the companies expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021", they said.

Moderna's vaccine must also be stored in a freezer long-term, but at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

All COVID-19 vaccines will need to be approved by Health Canada before they are distributed.

According to Pfizer, its results show that its vaccine, which requires two doses, is 95 per cent effective beginning 28 days after the first shot. It can, however, be kept in normal refrigeration for up to five days, or up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box.

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