Canada reaches deal with Pfizer for vaccines in future years

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has reached an agreement with Pfizer for 35 million COVID-19 booster doses for next year, and 30 million in 2023 with options for tens of millions more in future years

He said the country of 38 million also has options for tens of millions more in future years should they be needed. He said the government is talking with other vaccine manufacturers about their plans for booster shots, too.

The vaccines are so new that experts don't yet have firm data on how long their protection will last, or if they will be affected by emerging variants of the virus.

So far, Pfizer’s ongoing trial indicates the company’s two-dose vaccine remains highly effective for at least six months, and likely longer. People who got Moderna’s vaccine also still had notable levels of virus-fighting antibodies six months after the second required shot.

“Canadians expect us to be ready for whatever happens. There is certainly a hope that booster shots might not be necessary, but we are much better to ensure that we are prepared in case they are,” Trudeau said at news conference in Ottawa.

Trudeau made the announcement shortly before he and his wife Sophie were scheduled to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine that some people have been reluctant to get because of reports of rare blood clots.

The province of Ontario recently dropped eligibility for AstraZeneca for people 40 and above.

The prime minister says 30% of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one vaccine. All eligible Canadians are expected to be able to get at least one dose by the end of June.

The Pacific Coast province of British Columbia, meanwhile, restricted nonessential travel between three regional health districts to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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