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Update on COVID-19 Vaccines | Drug News | Jan 2021

January 11, 2021 | Drug Information and News for Health Care Providers | View PDF

1. Two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada. Both are gene-based, mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines that provide “genetic instructions” to host cells to make the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) protein and then develop an antibody response to it. The initial doses of vaccines are being distributed to high priority/risk groups first: residents and staff of shared living settings, individuals caring for older adults, adults 70+ years of age, healthcare workers in direct contact with patients, and adults in Indigenous communities.1 These two vaccine products are outlined in the table below.



  1. Government of Canada. NACI. Guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s). December 18, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2020.
  2. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Product Monograph. December 9, 2020.
  3. Pfizer Inc. Press Release. Pfizer and BioNTech conclude phase 3 study of COVID-19 vaccine candidate, meeting all primary efficacy endpoints. November 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020.
  4. Moderna Inc. Press Release. Moderna announces primary efficacy analysis in phase 3 COVE study for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and filing today with U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. November 30, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020.
  5. Moderna Therapeutics Inc. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Product Monograph. December 23, 2020.
  6. Abbasi J. Medical news and perspectives: COVID-19 and mRNA vaccines – first large test for a new approach. JAMA 2020;324(12):1125-1127.

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