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Canada staging a practice run for COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Last Updated Dec 7, 2020 at 1:38 pm PST

Canadian officials are planning a practice run of their COVID-19 distribution plan on Monday. Daniel Schludi

Canada is set to hold a COVID-19 vaccine distribution practice run on Monday

Military, health care workers, government to take part in stress test ahead of vaccine approval

Delivery of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada comes with logistical challenges

Canadian officials are hoping to work out any kinks when it comes to the distribution of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The military, health workers, and the government are planning a dry run of the vaccine rollout plan on Monday.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin will be leading the process for the military. He says the intention of the practice run is to get everyone involved as comfortable as possible before the actual rollout of a vaccine, when one is approved for use in Canada.

Related video: Who gets Canada’s first COVID vaccines?

The expectation is that Health Canada could approve the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine as early as this week. The doses for the Pfizer product need to be shipped and transported at freezing temperatures, something that further complicates the logistics of the distribution.

The federal government has said that vaccine delivery will occur in phases and Canada is set to receive around six million doses early in the first quarter of 2021. The vaccines being considered for approval require two doses so the initial rollout would be enough to inoculate two million people.

It is anticipated that the military could be called upon to transport doses to remote areas of the country from other parts of the world.

BioNTech has said that once its vaccine is approved by Health Canada, doses could start being shipped within a day.

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The United Kingdom began to receive shipments within 24 hours of approving the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

On Tuesday, the U.K. will become the first country to start vaccinating its population against COVID-19 after it approved the vaccine last week.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The country hopes to vaccinate close to a million residents before the end of the year.

Frontline healthcare workers, care home workers, and people over the age of 80 have been identified as groups that will receive the first doses.

In Canada, the elderly, frontline workers, long-term care workers, and adults in Indigenous communities have been identified as those who should receive initial doses of authorized COVID-19 vaccines.

-With files from The Canadian Press