Over 600K United Kingdom citizens get Pfizer jab, Canada receives Moderna vaccine

17 shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. — AFP

San Juan Basin Public Health said the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine for the virus was delivered Tuesday. "But it doesn't mean we can let up just yet".

Chile, the first country in South America to begin vaccinating against COVID-19, started innoculations on Thursday after receiving its initial 10,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNtech.

Canada has secured contracts with Pfizer-BioNTech for access to 20 million doses and with Moderna for 40 million doses, and expects to be able to vaccinate everyone living in Canada by September 2021.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which must be maintained at temperatures of -80C, the Moderna needs to be maintained at just -20C.

Though more than 1 million citizens have received the first vaccine, the CDC warns of the challenging path ahead, noting a limited supply of the vaccine in the US, the statement read.

Moderna anticipates starting shipments to Canada within the next 48 hours.

Health Canada has determined that the Moderna vaccine meets the "Department's stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements".

A spokeswoman for Ontario's health minister says the province expects to receive the doses next week and they will first be taken to long-term care homes.

Separately, FedEx Corp's Canadian subsidiary and Innomar Strategies, a Canada-based unit of USA drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp said on Thursday they have started to distribute Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine across Canada.

Moderna's vaccine has "different storage and handling requirements" compared to the Pfizer vaccine, meaning it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories.

"I know there are many, many groups of people who want to know where they fall right now", Henry said, referring to the order in which people will be inoculated. "The vaccine won't help you if you get sick now".

She added that it is not likely until March and April that vaccines will be more available to the general population.