Loading articles...

Canada agrees to deal with Pfizer to secure millions of COVID-19 booster shots through 2024

Last Updated Apr 23, 2021 at 2:22 pm EDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has secured COVID-19 booster vaccines from Pfizer for 2022 and 2023, with options to extend into 2024.

The agreement guarantees access to 65 million doses, with access to up to 120 million more if all options are exercised.

“While more and more Canadians are getting vaccinated right now, it’s also important to plan ahead to the future,” said the Prime Minister.

“We’ve reached an agreement with Pfizer for 35 million booster doses for next year, and 30 million in the year after.”

Booster shots are expected to be important as the virus continues to mutate, similar to how the flu shot is altered every year to be effective against the most dominant strain.

The announcement came as Canada’s top public health doctor said there are signs the epidemic is easing, although average COVID-19 case counts have more than doubled over the past month.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has said that people who receive the vaccines will likely require booster shots within one year and possibly require an annual shot thereafter, similar to seasonal flu shots, as a form of protection against the virus as it evolves.

Pfizer’s rival Moderna is also working on booster shots.

Pfizer recently announced that its vaccine was over 91 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 six months after a second dose.

Moderna’s vaccine, which uses technology similar to Pfizer’s, was also shown to remain highly effective at preventing symptoms at six months.

Federal health officials say nearly one-third of Canadian adults have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Theresa Tam says that’s good news in the battle to stop the spread of the illness.

“More than 11-million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since vaccination began in mid-December,” said Tam.

“Providing 30 percent of Canadian adults with one dose of a vaccine.”

The latest federal modelling numbers predict more than 1.2-million Canadians could be infected with COVID-19 by May 2nd.

Trudeau, meantime, says suspending incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month must be done to keep Canadians safe.

He says it’s necessary because there has been a concerning surge of COVID-19 cases and the emergence of more variants of concern in certain parts of the world.

Also, the federal health minister has said half of the people who have tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Canada by plane have come from India.

The new travel measures were announced yesterday following pressure from provincial leaders, who said not enough was being done to keep infectious variants out of the country.