A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Pfizer first expected vaccine wouldn’t be approved in Canada until February

Health Canada ended up approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December 2020

The president of Pfizer Canada says when the company signed a purchase agreement last August it didn’t expect its vaccine to get approved here until February.

Cole Pinnow also told the House of Commons health committee today that changes to the dosing schedule and conflicting advice could make more people vaccine hesitant.

On Aug. 1, Canada signed an agreement with Pfizer to buy at least 20 million doses, with the option to buy 56 million more, and approval was not expected until early 2021.

Health Canada ended up approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December 2020.

Pinnow told the committee it was only in November that the federal government and Pfizer realized the approval could be imminent and began moving quickly to deliver doses to Canada months earlier than planned.

He also says the National Advisory Committee on Immunization did not contact Pfizer before it recommended changing delaying the second dose from three weeks to four months after the first shot.

READ MORE: B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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