Could Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine be rolled out as early as January?

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After months of hearing that a COVID-19 vaccine will offer us deliverance from lockdowns, mask-wearing, social distancing and everything else, there now appears to be some real hope that one vaccine candidate may be ready sometime during the winter of 2021.

American drugmaker Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is proving more than 90 per cent effective in late-stage clinical trials, and company officials suggest it may be ready to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators by the end of November.

About 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries have taken part in the trials, and while Monday's announcement doesn't carry any guarantees, CJAD 800's medical expert Dr. Mitch Shulman says it's positive news.

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train rushing at us," Dr. Mitch said on the Andrew Carter Morning Show. "We'll probably have the FDA give approval by the end of the year, at the latest, and I think Health Canada will be close behind...and we should see a vaccine being available...towards the start of 2021.

Dr. Mitch says when the rollout happens, medical workers, older people and those at risk will go to the front of the line, and he suggests that much like with this year's flu vaccine, there may be supply issues.

And he, too, also cautions there may still be problems on the way to regulatory approval — there are still many things we don't know, such as how long the protection lasts, and how effective it is with older people and other sub-groups.

Pfizer is one of several companies Canada has made deals with. This past summer, the Trudeau government signed a deal with Pfizer for the rights to 20 million doses.

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said while that news from Pfizer is encouraging, he urged Canadians to maintain their good safety and hygiene practices.

“To be very clear: if you catch COVID in the coming days and weeks, a vaccine won't help you or your family,” Trudeau said.



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