OTTAWA, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Canadian health authorities should
soon complete their regulatory review of Pfizer Inc's
coronavirus vaccine candidate, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said
Hajdu posted her comment on Twitter shortly after Britain
approved the candidate. Pfizer developed the vaccine with its
German partner BioNTech SE.
Health Canada is reviewing vaccine candidates from Pfizer,
AstraZeneca Plc, Modern Inc and Johnson &
Johnson but has yet to approve any of them.
"The news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved
in the U.K. is encouraging. Health Canadas review of this
candidate is ongoing, and is expected to be completed soon,"
Canada's Liberal government, which has signed deals with a
total of seven vaccine manufacturers, says doses could arrive
soon after any approval.
A second wave of the virus is sweeping Canada, setting daily
records for the number of new daily cases. So far Canada has
reported a total of 383,468 cases of COVID-19 and 12,212 deaths.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Ottawa has assured his
provincial government that shipments will start arriving by Jan.
4. Kenney announced the formation of a task force to distribute
vaccine shipments and said his government was aiming to immunize
435,000 people, or 10% of Alberta's population, in the first
three months next year.
Alberta has the second-highest rate of total cases among
provinces. On Wednesday it reported another 1,685 new cases and
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported that Alberta had
asked the federal government and Canadian Red Cross to supply
field hospitals, as its health-care system becomes overwhelmed.
Kenney said the inquiry was simply responsible planning and that
Alberta was not close to needing such capacity.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; additional reporting
by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Grant McCool and Stephen