Most important differences for COVID vaccines will be efficacy and safety: Healthcare analyst
Canada expects to receive six million doses of COVID-19 vaccines early in the new year, Ontario's health minister said Wednesday as the virus continued its upward trajectory across the country.
Christine Elliott said the country is set to get four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine between January and March as well as two million doses of Moderna's vaccine.
She said in question period that 1.6 million doses of the Pfizer and 800,000 of the Moderna vaccines are destined for Ontario, with priority going to those in long-term care homes, care homes and group settings -- similar to the flu vaccine.
Elliott said both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines need to be stored at cold temperatures. Both also require two shots, 21 days apart.
"This is a major logistical challenge but we have an entire of group within the ministry of health right now that are planning for that," she said.
Pfizer announced Wednesday it intends to seek approval for emergency use of its novel coronavirus vaccine after new test results showed it is 95 per cent effective, is safe, and works to protects vulnerable older adults.
The news on vaccines was a bright spot on an otherwise sombre day for many provinces struggling with the virus' fallout. Both Quebec and Ontario reported more than 30 additional deaths each on Wednesday, as well as well over 1,000 new cases.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, sounded the alarm over a rise in cases in vulnerable populations and settings.
"Cases have been increasing in elderly adults for several weeks, with those aged 80 years and older now having the highest incidence rate nationally," she said in a statement.
"More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities."
Tam also mentioned Nunavut, which began a two-week shutdown of schools and non-essential businesses amid what the premier described as a significant rise in cases.
The territory reported 10 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing its total from 60 to 70.
Tam said the rise in transmission puts lives at risk and present significant challenges for health services, especially in areas not equipped to manage what she called complex medical emergencies.