FILE - This March 16, 2020 file photo shows vials used by pharmacists to prepare syringes used on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial of the potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

COVID-19 vaccine still months away but review team working to speed approvals

AstraZeneca has been the only vaccine maker to submit a COVID-19 vaccine for Canadian approval

Health Canada is in talks with all of the vaccine developers that signed supply deals with the federal government to kick-start the approval process and get COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians as soon as possible.

Still, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says it will be months, and not weeks, until any approval is given.

The federal government has signed deals to get access to millions of doses of six of the most promising vaccines in development but all of them have to complete clinical trials and be approved as safe by Health Canada before they can be used here.

Sharma says the vaccine-review process that normally takes more than a year to complete is being accelerated by trying to do the Health Canada reviews even as the vaccines are still being tested by their companies.

AstraZeneca is the only one of the six vaccine makers to submit a COVID-19 vaccine for Canadian approval thus far.

Sharma says there are ongoing discussions with the other five vaccine developers so they get their applications in as soon as they can as well.

READ MORE: Nearly half of parents are willing to accept ‘less rigorous’ testing of COVID vaccine

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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