Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that Canada has secured 168,000 Moderna coronavirus vaccines that, pending regulatory approval, should arrive before the end of December.
He said delivery of the Moderna vaccines could begin 48 hours after Health Canada’s approval.
READ MORE: Canada’s 1st COVID-19 vaccinations administered, kicking off massive campaign
The doses will be directed to remote and Indigenous communities in Northern Canada, he said, which could be transported within the coming weeks.
While Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at an ultracold temperature until it is injected, Moderna’s vaccine can survive in regular freezers, which Trudeau says makes it easier to ship to remote communities.
“As soon as we get the green light, we will be ready to go,” he said.
Next week Canada will also receive 200,000 more doses from Pfizer, Trudeau said. There will also be 70 sites to administer the doses, up from 14 this week.
[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]
“This pandemic will end. We will get through this. But for now, we need to be incredibly careful,” Trudeau added. “Vaccines are already here. But we need to make it through this winter in the best possible situation, without seeing more tragedies.”
Trudeau’s update comes after a long-term care resident in Quebec and a nursing home worker in Ontario received Canada’s first COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday, kicking off the largest immunization campaign in the country’s history.
While Ontario and Quebec handed out their first doses, other provinces were either just receiving their shipments or were putting the finishing touches on their plans.
British Columbia and Alberta are set to administer the provinces’ first vaccine on Tuesday, and Manitoba on Wednesday.