December 15, 2020 10:17:41 am
Canada administered its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to do so in an effort to counter the pandemic.
Five front-line workers in Ontario were among the first Canadians to receive the vaccine at one of Toronto’s hospitals.
Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker who worked through a COVID-19 explosion at the Rekai Nursing Center in Toronto, received the first dose in Ontario.
“This is a winning day for science,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, president and CEO of the University of Toronto Health Network. “Here we are today breaking the back of this terrible virus.”
More of Canada’s initial 30,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to cross the border on Monday. The Canadian government recently changed its contract with Pfizer and BioNTech to deliver up to 249,000 doses this month.
“It was very emotional for me,” said Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, who attended the first vaccination in Quebec. “I cried.”
Hajdu said Canadians need to continue to protect each other.
“It’s a first step. We have a lot of work ahead of us. These are hard times, ”she said.
Ontario reported 1,940 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and 23 new deaths while Quebec announced 1,620 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 more deaths
The health regulator of Canada approved the vaccine for use last week.
Ontario received 6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer on Sunday night and plans to give them to about 2,500 health workers.
Residents of two long-term care homes in Quebec receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in that province.
People in Britain and the United States are also beginning to receive vaccines against coronavirus.
The encouraging developments are taking place as the coronavirus continues to grow across much of the world.
Canada has contracts with six other vaccinators and is currently reviewing three other vaccines, including one from Modern, which Canadian health officials said could soon be approved.
Canada has ordered more doses than needed for Canadians, but the government is finally planning to donate excess supply to poor countries.
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