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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Health Canada approves Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Friday, March 05, 2021 @ 3:01 PM | By Ian Burns

Canada now has a new arrow in its quiver as it continues the fight against COVID-19.

On March 5, Health Canada authorized the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Janssen Inc., a division of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. It is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized in Canada, and can be stored and transported at temperatures between 2C to 8C for at least three months.

The vaccine, which is viral-vector based, is authorized for use in people over 18 years of age. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the fact it is single dose and can be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures makes it easier to distribute across the country.

 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“As with all the other vaccines we have secured we are working to get doses to Canadians as quickly as possible,” he said. “There are now four safe and effective vaccines approved by regulators in Canada. We have agreements with all four companies making these doses and we also have agreements with three additional countries for their potential vaccines.”

Health Canada has published several documents related to its decision to approve the vaccine, including a high-level summary of the evidence that was reviewed to support the authorization of the vaccine. The department said it will continue to monitor the safety of the vaccine, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the provinces and territories and the manufacturer, for any side effects.

Trudeau also said delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been accelerated, with delivery of more than three and a half million doses moved up from the summer months into the spring.

“Pfizer will be delivering an additional one and a half million doses to Canada this March, and we will also be getting another million doses ahead of schedule in both April and May,” said Trudeau, who has been under fire for the slow rollout of vaccines in Canada compared to other industrialized nations. “For months we have been committing to you we will get six million doses total by the end of March, and with these accelerated Pfizer deliveries we will now be getting eight million doses by then.”

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