Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

covid vaccine

The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be approved in Canada next month.

Dr. Supriya Sharma says the Health Canada review is most advanced for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

She says Canada is reviewing it alongside the United States and Europe, and expects it will be approved here at the same time it is given emergency authorization in the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is meeting Dec. 10 to consider whether to give the go-ahead to Pfizer.

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, with the first four million of those on track to arrive before the end of March.

Sharma says she expects the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine in January but it is possible Canada could begin receiving the first doses before the end of the year.