Montreal, Feb. 27 (BNA): Canada's health regulator on Friday approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and Oxford University, making it the third jab to be authorized in the country.
"Vaccines will keep arriving faster and faster as we head into the spring - and not just because shipments of Moderna and Pfizer are ramping up, which they are - but because Canada has now approved yet another vaccine option," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
"This morning, Health Canada authorized the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine," he continued, calling it "very encouraging news" in the country's fight against Covid-19.
He said 22 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot had been secured and should start arriving in the coming months.
Between all three vaccines, Canada should have 6.5 million doses by the end of March, he said.
Health Canada said AstraZeneca's vaccine showed an effectiveness of about 62 per cent in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 cases starting two weeks after the second dose.
The regulator approved its use for people 18 and older. That's in contrast with several countries in Europe that have limited its use to those under 65, saying its effectiveness had not been proven in older age groups.
Trudeau has come under pressure to pick up the pace of the country's vaccination campaign, with Canada lagging behind many other Western countries, including the neighbouring United States, in terms of numbers vaccinated.