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COVID-19 vaccine still months away but review team working to speed approvals

Last Updated Oct 8, 2020 at 4:24 pm PDT

FILE - In this May 25, 2020, file photo, a lab technician extracts a portion of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate during testing at the Chula Vaccine Research Center, run by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. As the race for a vaccine against the new coronavirus intensifies, many rich countries are rushing to the front of the line by placing advance orders for the inevitably limited supply to guarantee their citizens are immunized first. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
Summary

Health Canada is in talks with vaccine developers to kick-start approval process to get COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians

Health Canada says it will be months, and not weeks, until any approval is given

OTTAWA — Health Canada is in talks with all of the vaccine developers that signed supply deals with the federal government to kick-start the approval process and get COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians as soon as possible.

Still, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says it will be months, and not weeks, until any approval is given.

The federal government has signed deals to get access to millions of doses of six of the most promising vaccines in development but all of them have to complete clinical trials and be approved as safe by Health Canada before they can be used here.

Sharma says the vaccine-review process that normally takes more than a year to complete is being accelerated by trying to do the Health Canada reviews even as the vaccines are still being tested by their companies.

AstraZeneca is the only one of the six vaccine makers to submit a COVID-19 vaccine for Canadian approval thus far.

Sharma says there are ongoing discussions with the other five vaccine developers so they get their applications in as soon as they can as well.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2020.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press