Home / News / World /  Covid-19 vaccine: Canada could approve Pfizer's vaccine 'around December'

Canada could approve American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine "around December," about the same time as the United States and the European Union, a senior official at Canada's drug regulator said.

Health Canada earlier had said that an approval would likely come early in the first quarter, under a new accelerated review process very similar to that in place in the United States, reports a news agency.

Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine is most advanced in Health Canada's reviews, Supriya Sharma, senior medical adviser at Health Canada, said at a press briefing in Ottawa.

Asked whether any Canadians could receive a shot before the end of the year, Sharma said several things are happening at the same time - regulatory reviews, manufacturing, distribution - which makes it difficult to pinpoint dates.

"I think the general timelines of authorizations around December, and getting the shipments in January, and getting those moving in January are the best (forecasts) we can give at this time," she said.

Canada is looking at the same data as regulators in the United States and European Union, and has a similar authorization system for use during a public health emergency, Sharma said.

"The way that the reviews are progressing is that we are expecting to make a final decision on the vaccine around the same time as both the U.S. FDA and the European Medicines Agency," she said.

The European Medicines Agency is "very hopeful" it will be able to give a positive scientific opinion before Christmas, its executive director said on Wednesday.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a meeting on 10 December at which members would discuss Pfizer's vaccine. The agency declined last week to predict how long its review would take, but both Pfizer and US Health Secretary Alex Azar have said the FDA could authorise the vaccine in mid-December.

Canada's Covid cases surpass 350,000

Canada's Covid-19 cases surpassed the 350,000 level on Thursday afternoon as the country confirmed a total of 351,133 COVID-19 cases and 11,776 deaths.

The cumulative number is high and many areas are experiencing rapid growth and these cumulative numbers show the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date, said Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam in a statement on Thursday.

"This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions to protect ourselves, our families and our communities," said Tam.

The latest national-level data indicated daily averages of 5,194 new cases over the past seven days and 75,666 people tested daily, with 7.6% testing positive.

With agency inputs

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