Can Pfizer, Moderna vaccines be gamechangers for India amid the COVID crisis?

By Canadian Press	
	 		A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Tuesday

Details were provided during a live press conference with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. The company had pledged to send between 10.3 and 12.3 million doses by the end of the second quarter. Seniors, Indigenous people, and people who identify as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) will be prioritized, with invitations already going out to those who are eligible.

Given Moderna shipments have been less consistent than Pfizer's, this would mostly apply to people who received Moderna first. Among all those ages 12 and older who are now eligible, roughly 62 per cent have received a first dose, she added.

"We are going to try and make sure everybody gets the second dose with the same product they had for their first dose. This is the approach that we will be taking as much as possible", Henry said. "If you had a Moderna vaccine first, you can receive a Pfizer vaccine for your second dose". He received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in early December, shortly after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan, the first woman who got the shot.

"I would encourage people to take the Pfizer if it is on offer", she said.

The drugmaker is likely to supply 50 million COVID-19 vaccines to India in 2021, albeit with a few conditions, sources told ANI on Wednesday.

She said the province is still awaiting more information from studies on the AstraZeneca product being conducted in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Officials have said that 98% of the population remains susceptible to infection.

The government had amended provisions to waive off the trial requirement altogether for the well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries and that no application of any foreign manufacturer for approval is pending with the drugs controller, he said, adding, "We need to understand that buying vaccines internationally is not similar to buying "off the shelf" items".

As for AstraZeneca, Henry expects to share further guidance on second doses of that vaccine. She cites an adverse reaction to the first dose or perhaps supply issues as reasons that could happen.

Several of the local pharmacies have not yet received any doses of vaccine, and until they do, are not booking appointments.