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Canada approves Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Health Canada has approved Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in this country, with 168,000 doses expected to arrive by the end of the year.

The regulator announced the approval on Wednesday after completing a review of the Massachusetts-based biotechnology company’s clinical trial data.
“The data provided supports favourably the efficacy of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as well as its safety,” Health Canada said in a notice authorizing use of the vaccine for people over the age of 18.

“There were no important safety issues identified and no life-threatening adverse events (AEs) or deaths related to the vaccine.”

The authorization of a second COVID-19 vaccine comes as cases surge across the country. Quebec reported another new daily record Wednesday and Ontario saw its ninth consecutive day of more than 2,000 cases, even as it prepares for a lockdown starting on Boxing Day, BBC reported.

The Moderna approval means vaccinations can soon begin in northern, remote and Indigenous communities, which haven’t seen any doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine because they lack the freezer equipment necessary to safely store it at –70 C.

Moderna’s vaccine, by contrast, can be stored at regular freezer temperatures.

“This authorization is a critical step in ensuring a COVID-19 vaccine is available to all Canadians in all parts of the country,” Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, said at a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.