Health Canada could approve first Covid-19 vaccine in December

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa Friday Nov. 20 2020

Delay likely for Canada's COVID-19 vaccine without domestic production, Trudeau says

The U.S. tapped a former four star general, Gen. Gustave Perna, in May to lead Operation Warp Speed - a project to develop a vaccine, manufacture it in large quantities and push it out into communities.

COVID-19 has surged in recent weeks across Canada, with several regions putting stricter travel restrictions in place and closing non-essential businesses and services to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"This will be the biggest immunization in the history of the country", Trudeau said.

Canadian health officials said earlier this week that the first vaccine could be approved as early as December, in line with expectations in the United States and Europe, local media reported.

Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine is most advanced in Health Canada's reviews, Supriya Sharma, senior medical adviser at Health Canada, said at a press briefing in Ottawa. We have two vaccines which are very promising but they're still in the process of going through the regulatory process.

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"And then we're going to have to figure out all of those shipments", she said.

As first reported by CTV News ahead of Trudeau's Rideau Cottage address on Friday, Fortin will be in charge of overseeing what is set to be a massive logistics-heavy operation of delivering the vaccine.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says:"We'll administer it and deal with all of that, but there should be, in my view a national protocol about who gets it".

Njoo conceded there will be logistical difficulties in getting vaccines out to all Canadians, and said the Public Health Agency of Canada is working closely with the Canadian Armed Forces on a distribution plan. "When will we receive the vaccines in respective provinces?"

Bernstein said the United Kingdom is building a facility near Oxford, a collaboration among the government, academia and industry, that would be a good model for something similar in Canada.

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"We have reached out and have actually one of the very best vaccine portfolios of any country around the world with far more doses for Canadians, potentially than we actually have Canadian population".

Moe said Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman asked those questions during a conference call Tuesday with his federal and provincial counterparts.

In case of another pandemic in the coming years, he said "we never want to be caught short again, without the ability to support Canadians directly".

However, Canada isn't expecting any doses until early next year.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Canada topped 340,000 on Tuesday, including 11,500 deaths.

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Njoo later said the Prime Minister's prediction is "in the same ballpark" as previous rollout plans, and said September was a good target to work towards.

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