Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he hopes to see COVID-19 vaccines roll out in Canada early next year, but warns that won't bring an immediate resolution to the pandemic currently seeing a resurgence in several provinces.
The prime minister says news from Pfizer today that one of its vaccine candidates appears very effective in clinical trials is "very encouraging" but won't help anyone who catches the virus in the meantime.
Speaking in Ottawa, Trudeau said other vaccine candidates have also appeared to progress well.
His comments come after a weekend that saw the two provinces hardest hit by the pandemic report record-breaking daily case counts.
Quebec reported 1,397 new cases on Sunday and Ontario reported 1,328, nearly 200 more than the record it had set the previous day.
The number of new infections stayed above 1,000 in Ontario on Monday, with 1,242 reported.
Canada has bought the rights to 20 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, if it proves effective and Health Canada approves it for use here, and Trudeau said the government would purchase more if the initial round goes well.
The company said in a news release that early results from a large-scale trial show its vaccine is 90 per cent effective at combating the virus.
UPDATE: We are proud to announce, along with @BioNTech_Group, that our mRNA-based #vaccine candidate has, at an interim analysis, demonstrated initial evidence of efficacy against #COVID19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 9, 2020
There are 3 critical areas where we must demonstrate success before filing for EUA of our #COVID19 vaccine— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 9, 2020
▶️ Evidence of efficacy in most vaccinated patients
▶️ Evidence of safety w/ data from thousands of patients
▶️ Manufactured consistently at the highest quality standards
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with the World Health Organization also reacted to the good news via Twitter.
We welcome the encouraging vaccine news from @pfizer & @BioNTech_Group & salute all scientists & partners around the 🌍 who are developing new safe, efficacious tools to beat #COVID19. The 🌍 is experiencing unprecedented scientific innovation & collaboration to end the pandemic!— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) November 9, 2020
"We hope to see vaccines landing in the early next year but between now and then it's really really important that we double down on our efforts," Trudeau said.
"We need to make sure we are controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the coming months so that when vaccines get here we will be able to act quickly to protect all Canadians."