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Canada could start vaccine plan in mid-December: PM

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-12-08 11:07
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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Dec 7, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

OTTAWA - Canada could roll out its COVID-19 vaccine plan as early as next week, with the arrival of the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

Before 2020 ends, Canada will receive an initial batch of up to 249,000 doses, Trudeau said on Parliament Hill. "This will move us forward on our whole timeline of vaccine rollout."

Health Canada is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine this week.

"We will be able to begin on the most vulnerable populations and make sure that we have the logistical grounding foundation in place to be able to deliver right across the country over the first months of 2021," Trudeau said.

As the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at ultra-cold temperatures, to ensure vaccine safety, batches will be delivered to 14 urban centers across Canada, with systems for delivery and storage currently under test.

While the vaccine news provides hope, Trudeau urged Canadians to continue to wear masks, wash hands, keep social distancing and avoid gatherings.

Trudeau's announcement came as the numbers of both new COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising across the country.

Canada reported 421,034 COVID-19 cases and 12,742 deaths as of Monday afternoon.

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