Canada staging a practice run for COVID-19 vaccine delivery

By Michael Ranger

Canadian officials are hoping to work out any kinks when it comes to the distribution of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The military, health workers and the government are planning a dry run of the vaccine rollout plan on Monday.

Major-General Dany Fortin will be leading the process for the military. He says that the intention of the practice run is to get everyone involved as comfortable as possible before the real thing.

The expectation is that Health Canada could approve the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine as early as this week. The doses for the Pfizer product need to be shipped and transported at freezing temperatures, something that further complicates the logistics of the distribution.

The federal government has said that the vaccine delivery will occur in phases and Canada is set to receive around six million doses in the early part of the new year. The vaccines being considered for approval require two doses so the initial rollout would be enough to incolulate two million people.

It is anticipated that the military could be called upon to transport doses to remote areas of the country from other parts of the world.

Sean Marett, Chief Business and Commercial Officer for BioNtech, says that once it is approved the vaccine could start being shipped within a day.

“We’ve produced and reserved doses for Canada,” said Marett to the CBC. “So it’s really awaiting regulatory approval before we get to the next step. Upon approval we then release the vaccine and then it is shipped.”

The United Kingdom began to recieve shipments within 24 hours of approving the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

On Tuesday, the U.K. will become the first country to start vaccinating its population after becoming the first country to approve the vaccine last week.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people. They hope to vaccinate close to a million residents before the end of the year.

Frontline healthcare workers, care home workers and people over the age of 80 have been identified as groups that will receive the first doses.

With files from the Canadian Press.

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