Canada announced its approval of the use of the Covid-19 vaccine co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca on Friday, clearing the way for millions of more inoculations in the country.
“AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine is indicated for active immunisation of individuals 18 years of age and older for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019,” said Health Canada in its news release.
“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.
Canada, which began to assess the submission from AstraZeneca and Oxford University for safety and efficacy since last October, has secured access to 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine before July, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The approval follows that of Pfizer and Moderna, both of which also require two doses.
Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines based on mRNA technology, AstraZeneca uses more conventional viral vector technology.
One major advantage is in logistics. The shot can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures, unlike its leading mRNA-based competitors, which require ultra-cold storage.
Health Canada said it has no immediate safety concerns for those 65 and older.
France has 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.
As of Friday morning, more than 1,729,203 doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada, according to Health Canada.
Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was “very confident” that it would meet its end-of-September goal of vaccinating every Canadian who wants to be inoculated.
Canada has a population of nearly 38 million.