OTTAWA – Health Canada is to announce approval of the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson and Johnson this morning, according to multiple sources aware of the decision but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
The federal regulator has found the evidence shows the vaccine is both safe and effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.
It is the fourth vaccine to be approved in Canada and the first and only one Canada has purchased that requires just a single dose.
Canada has pre-purchased 10 million doses, with options to buy another 28 million.
Joelle Paquette, the director general for vaccines at Public Services and Procurement Canada, says the 10 million doses are to arrive by September.
However it’s not expected that any will flow to Canada until at least April.
“At the moment, we are still in discussion with Johnson and Johnson to determine where their doses will be coming from and the delivery schedule,” Paquette said Thursday.
Delivery schedules are not confirmed publicly until Health Canada’s regulatory review team gives a vaccine its seal of approval.
The United States became the first jurisdiction to approve Johnson and Johnson‘s vaccine – which is officially produced by a subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals – on Feb. 26.
Production problems slowed initial deliveries in the United States. The Americans were to get 10 million doses as soon as the vaccine was approved but there were only four million doses shipped out March 1.
The U.S. expects to get another 16 million doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June.
The European Medicines Agency, which Canada works with on all its COVID-19 vaccine reviews so far, is to make a decision in mid-March.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.
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