You may be able to get the covid-19 vaccine sooner than expected.
After crossing the year mark on the COVID-19 pandemic, it's safe to say that mass vaccination seems to be the only way out. Even though Canada is far behind countries like USA, UK and India with it's vaccine rollout, we're still in a much better condition in terms of COVID cases compared to last year- with only 29,930 active cases in the country on the 4th of March.
Image source: Health Canada Analysis report.
While Pfizer was among the first vaccines that got approved, the production of this vaccine came with a few downsides among, the biggest amongst which is its storage temperature. Pfizer vaccine required a storage temperature of -60 to -80 degrees Celsius. The storage temperature of the vaccine made it difficult for the manufacturers and the government to make it widely available. The supply chain and the storage hub needed modification in order to make vaccination more feasible.
On Wednesday, March 3rd the Health Canada announced that the Pfizer covid vaccine can now be stored at -15 to -25 degrees Celsius for a short period of 2 weeks. Health Canada also added that this drop in temperature change can significantly make its transportation easier. Technically now the supply chain of the vaccine can be as easy as the supply chain of ice cream. Although long term storage requirement of the vaccine still remains the same.
In the beginning of February, there was another big update on the coronavirus vaccine. Previously, only 5 doses could be extracted from a vial of Pfizer vaccines but now 6 doses can be extracted. This update was the result of Pfizer’s request to extract more doses, although these require specialized syringe usage.
"In order to extract the sixth dose reliably and consistently, a specialized syringe should be used"
-Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser.
These changes are vital in increasing the speed of vaccination all around Canada. The vaccination drive is going strong right now and hopefully, these changes will make it even more efficient and quicker and help Canada achieve mass vaccination sooner than earlier expected.