Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s Deputy chief health officer told reporters that Canada’s health agency has reviewed the clinical trial evidence for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and can now vouch for its effectiveness with one single dose.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine producers say the vaccine should be given as two shots spaced three to four weeks apart.
However, Canada’s failure to secure enough doses has caused Health Canada to review what it calls “real world” data, saying that the first dose of the vaccine might be enough to provide up to 90% effectiveness after two weeks.
The Toronto Star reports that as of today, “the official recommendation of sticking to the authorized schedule hasn’t changed”, but that Dr. Njoo emphasized the need to strike a “balance between protecting a larger number of people with the one dose as opposed to maybe a smaller number with the two doses.”
“I would defer to the individual chief medical officers of health, and as well as others in their own jurisdictions in making sure that they’re looking at the data, what makes sense for them, what their final plan might be in terms of what they do now for the vaccine rollout based on the evidence that they have[…] Everyone can look at the evidence and obviously, based on local and sort of provincial context, make their own respective decisions”, Njoo added.
It is not the first time Canadians have had to be ‘creative’ to deal with the shortage of vaccine doses. Earlier last week, Health Canada approved the extraction of an extra dose from vaccine vials with the help of a special needle.
Canada has fallen to the 41st rank worldwide in vaccination doses administered per 100 people, behind Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and dozen others.
Canada has vaccinated 3.97% of its population versus Israel’s 78.80% who currently sits at the top of the vaccination ranking.
Justin Trudeau’s failure to secure enough doses has delayed reopening the economy of numerous Canadian provinces, dramatically slowing down the recovery of the country’s economy.