A prominent Alberta virology expert believes a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to Canadians by the spring.

Dr. Lorne Tyrrell is part of a panel looking into the development of vaccines and advising the federal government.

“We want to see a safe and effective vaccine,” he said.

Tyrell works at the University of Alberta, and is a member of Canada’s 12-person task force advising government on the latest science when it comes to vaccines for coronavirus.

Around the world, about two dozen vaccines are in the clinical trial stage.

“I think we will hear some very good results, I hope, by the end of the year.”

He expects a vaccine will be available in Canada by the spring.

Tyrrell says some of the work is even being done at the U of A.

Once a vaccine is available, it will be up to Canadians whether to get one.

A recent poll found that only about four out of 10 Canadians plan to do that right away.

Health Canada has brought in new measures to speed up the process of getting vaccines to the testing phase.

“When the vaccines are brought to the market, they will be very safe and they will be effective,” he said.

Canada is hedging its bets, currently; the government has contracts with six pharmaceutical companies that are working on vaccines for millions of doses. The first shots are expected to go to frontline responders and people who are vulnerable to viruses before the vaccine is available to the general public.  

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Bill Fortier.