COVID-19 Update for February 9 – 12:30PM

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a one-year interest holiday on certain tax debt and additional protective measures at the land border, and Health Canada announced its approval of Pfizer’s bid to change the label on its vaccine to indicate that there are six doses in each vial.

Tax Debt Relief
Canadians who received federal emergency benefits such as the CERB and made up to $75,000 in taxable income will not have to pay interest on any 2020 tax debt until April 2022. Additionally, Canadians who applied to receive the CERB using their gross income (as opposed to net) will not have to return their CERB payments as long as their application meets the other eligibility criteria.

Land Border Measures
Effective February 15, Canadians returning to the country through a land border must show a 72-hour PCR test. This PCR test is already required for air travel.

Pfizer Label Update
The Pfizer vaccine will now be labelled as containing one additional dose, Health Canada officials announced during a technical briefing this morning. To help with the change, the federal government will be providing provinces with a “sufficient supply” of low dead-volume syringes ahead of the first vaccinations expected to extract six doses per vial. As part of the terms of the approval, Pfizer-BioNTech is required to provide educational support to vaccine points of use, information on low dead-volume syringes and the process for ensuring the accuracy for low dead space.

The Pfizer vaccine label will also include a warning that very rare allergic reactions have been reported during mass vaccination, including anaphylaxis. These reactions usually occur between a few minutes to one hour after receiving the vaccine.

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