Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he hopes to see COVID-19 vaccines roll out in Canada early next year, but warns that won’t bring an immediate resolution to the pandemic currently seeing a resurgence in several provinces.
The prime minister says news from Pfizer today that one of its vaccine candidates appears very effective in clinical trials is “very encouraging” but won’t help anyone who catches the virus in the meantime.
Pfizer Inc. – one of 10 possible COVID-19 vaccine candidates in late-stage testing around the world – revealed on Monday morning that one of its vaccine candidates demonstrated “initial evidence of efficacy against COVID-19.”
UPDATE: We are proud to announce, along with @BioNTech_Group, that our mRNA-based #vaccine candidate has, at an interim analysis, demonstrated initial evidence of efficacy against #COVID19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 9, 2020
Pfizer says preliminary data from trials shows its vaccine may be 90 per cent effective, but there are still multiple questions that need to be answered.
These questions include how long the vaccine’s effects last and if it also protects older people as well as younger people.
The federal government has signed a procurement deal with Pfizer for 20-million doses of the vaccine.
Speaking in Ottawa on Monday, Trudeau said other vaccine candidates have also appeared to progress well.
His comments come after a weekend that saw the two provinces hardest hit by the pandemic report record-breaking daily case counts.
Quebec reported 1,397 new cases on Sunday and Ontario reported 1,328, nearly 200 more than the record it had set the previous day.
British Columbia has also seen record numbers lately, announcing back-to-back daily highs on Thursday and Friday last week.
B.C. health officials reported a daily record 425 cases last Thursday, followed by 589 cases on Friday.
Canada has bought the rights to 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine if it proves effective and Health Canada approves it for use here, and Trudeau said the government would purchase more if the initial round goes well.
“We hope to see vaccines landing in the early next year but between now and then it’s really really important that we double down on our efforts,” Trudeau said.
“We need to make sure we are controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the coming months so that when vaccines get here we will be able to act quickly to protect all Canadians.”
President-elect Joe Biden also commented on the Pfizer news Monday, stating, “today’s announcement promises the chance to change that next year, but the tasks before us now remain the same.”
The news of early data suggesting the effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has also triggered the stock markets to skyrocket on Monday morning.
With files to the Canadian Press