Ottawa [Canada], February 26 (ANI): Regulators in Canada on Friday approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, clearing the way for millions of more inoculations in the country.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC News), Canada's regulatory experts had been assessing the submission from AstraZeneca and Oxford University for safety and efficacy since October and announced their approval Friday morning.
"AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine is indicated for active immunization of individuals 18 years of age and older for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019," reads the Canadian government website.
"The efficacy of the vaccine was estimated to be 62.1 per cent. Overall, there are no important safety concerns and the vaccine was well tolerated by participants," it added.
CBC News further reported that the Canadian government has secured access to 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month spoke to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assured that India will do its best to support Canada's COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Expressing his appreciation, the Canadian Prime Minister said that if the world managed to conquer COVID-19, "it would be significantly because of India's tremendous pharmaceutical capacity, and Prime Minister Modi's leadership in sharing this capacity with the world".
The Prime Minister thanked PM Trudeau for his sentiments.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India earlier this month said that "Dear Hon'ble PM @JustinTrudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and it's vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, @SerumInstIndia will fly out COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I'm on it!"MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said last month that New Delhi plans to supply 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI's (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) COVAX facility.
He said supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca 'Covishield' vaccine, made by Serum Institute of India, on commercial basis are likely to take place to Canada, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Mongolia.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India has despatched a total of 361.94 lakh vaccine doses to various countries. Srivastava said that the total includes, 67.5 lakh doses supplied under grant assistance 294.44 lakh doses under various commercial contracts.
Other countries like France, have restricted the vaccine to people under the age of 65 despite the World Health Organization's insistence that the product is safe and effective for all age groups.
Health Canada said it has no immediate safety concerns for those 65 and older.
The regulator said the clinical trial results "were too limited to allow a reliable estimate of vaccine efficacy in individuals 65 years of age and older.""Efficacy in individuals 65 years of age and older is supported by immunogenicity data, emerging real world evidence and post-market experience in regions where the vaccine has been deployed, which suggest at this point in time a potential benefit and no safety concerns," said the approval.
"Efficacy in this age group will be updated as additional data becomes available from currently ongoing trials," it added. (ANI)