The prime minister announced the arrival of Canada’s first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in an Instagram post, alongside a picture of a plane and two Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers.
“The first batch of doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Canada,” reads part of Trudeau’s post.
“This is good news. But our fight against COVID-19 is not over. Now more than ever, let’s keep up our vigilance.
A tweet from Canada’s Procurement Minister Anita Anand also welcomed the first shipment of doses Sunday evening.
According to Anand, the shipment marks the first of 30,000 initial doses the country is expecting to receive between Sunday evening and Monday.
Those vaccines will then be sent to 14 distribution sites across the country’s provinces. There are no sites in the territories however, due to what health officials cite as a distribution challenge in stocking the vaccine which needs a constant -70 C storage temperature.
Several provinces have already outlined plans on how and who to distribute the vaccine to since its approval by Health Canada Wednesday. Most have prepared to either administer their first doses to long-term care home residents or frontline health care workers, with Quebec slated to be the first to inoculate Monday.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Trudeau said that up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be in Canada by the end of the year. Altogether, the federal government said it secured more than 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from several companies, some of which have trials that are still ongoing.
The next large shipment is expected to be the 40 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, of which two million is anticipated to arrive in the first quarter of 2021.
The vaccine’s arrival comes amid another 5,891 cases and 81 deaths from the coronavirus Sunday. To date, Canada has registered a total of 460,373 COVID-19 infections, and a death toll of 13,431.
Newly identified cases, deaths and hospitalizations have surged in recent months as the country experienced its second wave of the pandemic. Health officials have since urged Canadians to reduce their contacts and to stay indoors ahead of the holiday season in order to curb the virus’ spread.
— With files from The Canadian Press