COVID-19 Update for February 26 – 12:25PM

Vaccine Update

Today, Health Canada authorized two vaccines: the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca and developed in partnership with Oxford University, and the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.

These are the first viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada. The vaccines are authorized for use in people over 18 years of age. They are administered as a two-dose regimen and can be kept at refrigerated temperatures (from 2˚ to 8˚C) for at least six months.

The vaccine’s efficacy is well below the 94 per cent efficacy of the Moderna shot and the 95 per cent efficacy found with the Pfizer shots. On Friday, Health Canada’s senior medical advisor, Supriya Sharma, said that the important features are that the vaccines prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death. No one who received the shots died from COVID-19 and no one who contracted COVID-19 after receiving the shot was hospitalized.

With Pfizer, Moderna, and now AstraZeneca, Canada is scheduled to receive more than 6.5 million doses before the end of March.

The news release can be found here.

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