Two empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit on a table at the Ottawa Hospital Tuesday December 15, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Two empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit on a table at the Ottawa Hospital Tuesday December 15, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada to receive early shipment of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before year’s end

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has signed a contract to receive up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of December.

The Moderna vaccine has not yet been approved by Health Canada but Trudeau says deliveries could begin within 48 hours of that happening.

Canada is contracted to receive two million doses from Moderna by the end of March but initially the first doses weren’t going to arrive until January.

Trudeau also says Canada is set to receive another 200,000 of its vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech next week, and the number of distribution sites will rise from 14 this week to 70 next week.

The first 30,000 Pfizer doses are arriving this week and vaccinations have already begun in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa.

While Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at an ultracold temperature until it is injected, Moderna’s vaccine can survive in regular freezers, which Trudeau says makes it easier to ship to remote communities and the territories.

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