Federal government secures another 20M COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer

Grant Boone
January 14, 2021

More than 10 million Americans have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the year-old pandemic roared on unchecked.

That would be below the efficacy of about 95% achieved in trials of already authorized vaccines from Pfizer Inc with BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc, but well above the 50% benchmark for approval set by regulators.

Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser for the U.S. Operation Warp Speed vaccine development program, said on Wednesday the vaccine could show efficacy at or above 80%.

"Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab", health minister Matt Hancock said.

Quebec has chose to delay administering second doses to patients and has instead chosen to give a first dose to as many people as possible.

Quebec is facing a lawsuit from at least a dozen residents in a Montreal-area long-term care home because they didn't get their second dose on time as promised.

Trudeau said that the additional doses are expected to arrive in April or May.

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She said residents feared contracting the coronavirus if the wait for the second dose was extended for an indefinite period. Vinh said it is possible to be vaccinated and contract the coronavirus afterwards, as with any other vaccine.

At the St-Antoine facility in Quebec City, an outbreak four days before the inoculation campaign began on December 14 is believed to be a factor in the cases among those who were vaccinated.

The government is aiming to vaccinate those in the four highest risk tiers - the elderly, clinically vulnerable and frontline health and social care workers - by February 15, something that would require more than 2 million vaccinations a week.

The announcement by Trudeau came as the expert committee that advises federal health officials released new recommendations on Tuesday, saying it is safe to extend the interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines up to six weeks.

As of Tuesday, there were 73 active cases of COVID-19 at St-Antoine and 35 deaths linked to the virus.

"They have all demonstrated their effect in a scientifically convincing manner, and we wholeheartedly encourage all citizens to receive it as soon as their turn comes", Boivin said.

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