Canada has approved the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, allowing millions of doses to be added to the country’s beleaguered vaccine rollout.
The timeline on the delivery of the vaccine has not been confirmed, but it is expected to reach Canada sometime in the spring. Canada has secured about 20 million doses.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is the third approved in the country, although it is significantly less effective than the products from Pfizer and Moderna, 62 percent vs 90-plus percent effective.
“There were no life-threatening (adverse events) or deaths related to the vaccine. Based on the available data, the vaccine at the indicated dose was considered safe and well-tolerated,” Health Canada said in its decision Friday.
The U.K. approved the AstraZeneca vaccine in December, while the European Union did in January.
Unlike like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, allowing for easier transportation.
About 1.2 million Canadians have received a single dose of an approved vaccine, putting the country far behind the U.K. and the U.S. in its vaccination rollout.