Canada authorizes Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Canada authorizes Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
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Canada has authorized use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for broad use, clearing the way for the second vaccine to be distributed throughout the country.

"The Moderna vaccine meets the Department’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements," Health Canada said in a notice announcing the decision.

"Today’s authorization is a critical step in ensuring additional COVID-19 vaccines are available to all Canadians in all parts of the country. The different storage and handling requirements of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine mean that it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories," the agency said.

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The vaccine is indicated for use in people 18 years of age or older. Moderna is conducting additional studies in children from 12 years of age and older, and this indication could be revised in the future to include children if the data from these studies support it.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was authorized earlier this month and is already being injected into thousands of people, needs to be kept at an ultracold temperature of -94 Fahrenheit. 

Moderna's can be shipped at -4 Fahrenheit, the temperature of a normal freezer. As a result, more Canadians are likely to receive the Moderna vaccine. Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Schumer moves ahead with likely-to-fail infrastructure vote US extends travel restrictions with Canada, Mexico MORE earlier this month said doses of the vaccine will be directed to the North and to remote and Indigenous communities.

As part of an agreement with Moderna, deliveries could begin in the next 48 hours. Canada has contracted to receive a total of 40 million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021, with up to 168,000 doses before the end of the month.