Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Progress
On this page
- Producing a vaccine
- Vaccine development
- Securing enough vaccine
- Reviewing and authorizing vaccines
- Reviewing and authorizing treatments
- Videos, posters and infographics to share
Producing a vaccine
Producing a vaccine is complex. It requires significant investments to ensure it can be produced on a large scale with good quality and consistency. Our investments in research will help make sure Canada has faster access to safe and effective vaccines.
Manufacturers manage the process for vaccine production.
Both private and large public investments from governments around the world are being put toward research and development of COVID-19 vaccines.
This partnership between private industry and the public can lead to more affordable and ground-breaking health products for Canada.
Having safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available will be an important tool to help with the long-term management of COVID-19. Health Canada is prioritizing the review of all COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
Creating a new vaccine can take years. However, the development of vaccines for COVID-19 is progressing quickly for many reasons, including:
- advances in science and technology
- international collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry and governments
- increased dedicated funding
Right now, there are more than 150 potential COVID-19 vaccines at different stages of development around the world.
On December 9, 2020, we authorized the first vaccine in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19.
Find out about COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in Canada.
You can search the complete list of drugs and vaccines that have been authorized for treating and preventing COVID-19.
Securing enough vaccine
On December 9, 2020, we authorized the first vaccine in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19. Find out about COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in Canada.
We're working to make sure everyone in Canada has access to these vaccines as quickly as possible. This includes working with provinces and territories, as they're responsible for planning and running vaccination programs. The advance purchase agreements we've signed will help us reach this goal.
We're investing in a large selection of vaccines and working hard to make sure vaccine doses are available as quickly as possible after authorization. But it will take time before there's enough vaccine for everyone in Canada. This is why we identified priority populations for the first doses of the vaccines with the:
- provinces and territories and
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization
The Government of Canada will also provide additional support for:
- securing storage facilities
- getting supplies (like needles, swabs and gauze)
- helping with distribution across the country
Reviewing and authorizing vaccines
Health Canada's independent drug authorization process is recognized around the world for its high standards and rigorous review. Our decisions are based only on scientific and medical evidence showing that vaccines are safe and effective. The benefits must also outweigh any risks.
To market a vaccine in Canada, the manufacturer must file an application to Health Canada. They must use one of the following regulatory processes:
- the interim order for COVID-19 drug authorization
- this process was set up to respond to the urgent need for COVID-19 drugs during the pandemic
- the Food and Drug Regulations
Health Canada has put in place a fast-tracked review process to assess COVID-19 vaccines. If manufacturers apply through the interim order process, we're able to start the review process right away. We are also able to review any new evidence as it becomes available, instead of waiting until all studies are completed. We've dedicated more scientific resources to complete these reviews so that they're done quickly but without cutting corners.
A similar process was used in 2009 to review and authorize the H1N1 pandemic vaccine.
We're also working with international regulators to collaborate on the review process to get vaccines to market as quickly as possible. However, Health Canada will always make independent, science-based decisions that are in the best interest of the public.
As for all vaccines and treatments that are authorized in Canada, we'll review the evidence and scientific data. We'll then decide whether to authorize the COVID-19 vaccine and will only do so when the evidence shows that the vaccine:
- is safe, effective and of good quality and
- demonstrates that the benefits outweigh the risks
These measures will help make safe and effective vaccines and treatments available faster in Canada.
Reviewing and authorizing treatments
There are also potential COVID-19 treatments that are being assessed in clinical trials. Find out about COVID-19 treatments that are authorized in Canada.
Health Canada is fast-tracking the review of COVID-19 treatments by using similar review processes as those for vaccines. Like vaccine authorizations, Health Canada will always make treatment authorization decisions based on the best scientific evidence.
Videos, posters and infographics to share
- The facts about COVID-19 vaccines (poster)
- COVID-19: How vaccines are developed (video)
- Vaccine development and approval in Canada (infographic)
- Number of people vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines
- Authorized COVID-19 vaccines
- Vaccine safety and possible side effects
- Regulating vaccines for human use in Canada
- Health Canada's regulatory response to COVID-19
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