Moderna: 2nd COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-12-23 12:58

Canadians in remote communities first in line

A second COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for Canadians.

On Dec. 23, Health Canada confirmed that Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine works and is safe. It has been authorized for use in people over the age of 18.

The new vaccine, which was developed by a company in Massachusetts, will be available for Canadians by the end of the month.

Up to now, the only COVID-19 vaccine available was the one made by Pfizer-BioNTech. Canadians began getting that shot on Dec. 14.

How does the Moderna vaccine compare?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were made using similar technology.

Although they both need to be stored in really cold conditions, the Moderna vaccine doesn’t have to be quite as cold.

It can be transported at –20 C instead of Pfizer-BioNTech’s –70 C, which means it’s easier to ship to remote areas.

Man works behind row of binders labelled Moderna.

The Moderna vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved out of seven that were preordered by the Canadian government. (Image credit: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)

Who’s going to get it first?

Because the Moderna vaccine doesn’t have to be stored in ultra-cold freezers or coolers full of dry ice, it will likely be sent to northern, rural and remote communities first.

That includes Indigenous communities and other places that didn’t have access to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

How many Canadians will this cover?

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would receive up to 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine before the end of December.

Deliveries of the vaccine are set to begin within 48 hours of Health Canada's authorization.

Because each person who gets the vaccine needs two shots, a few weeks apart, the first round of deliveries will cover around 84,000 people.

That’s similar to the population of a city like Victoria, B.C.

Canada has already secured 20 million doses of the vaccine to arrive by the end of 2021 and could secure another 16 million doses.

Masked technician works in a lab.

Scientists used groundbreaking technology to create the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Researchers hope to use the same techniques to design vaccines to fight diseases like the flu, HIV and even cancer. (Image credit: Moderna Inc/Reuters)

When can kids get it?

The Moderna vaccine has not yet been approved for children under the age of 18.

That’s because kids weren’t involved in the early testing stages so there isn’t enough data yet to say if it’s safe or effective in kids.

In late November, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said his company expected to start testing the vaccine on kids between the ages of 12 and 17 before the end of December.

Is it safe?

Health Canada said the Moderna vaccine is “favourably” safe and effective and that “no important safety issues” were identified.

That matches what scientists with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Dec. 17.

That expert panel said the new vaccine was “highly effective” and didn’t raise any major safety concerns.

For more on vaccine safety, check out this video by CBC Kids News contributor Isabelle MacNeil: 

With files from CBC News, Thomson Reuters
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Dado Ruvic/Reuters


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