Canada approved Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, the health ministry announced, paving the way for up to 168,000 doses to be delivered by the end of the year.
Earlier this month, Canada gave the green light to Pfizer’s vaccine, which authorities have begun administering to health workers and the elderly.
The United States approved the Moderna vaccine last Friday. It needs to be stored and shipped frozen, but does not require the ultra-cold temperatures of the shot that Pfizer developed with German partner BioNTech.
“After a thorough, independent review of the evidence, it has determined that the Moderna vaccine meets the department’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements,” the health ministry said in a statement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Dec. 15 that Canada had signed a deal to receive up to 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine before the end of the year.
A second wave of Covid-19 is sweeping across Canada and medical officials in some parts of the country say the health care system is under dangerous strain. Canada has recorded a total of 14,425 deaths and 521,509 cases.