Canadians who wish to be administered the Medicago vaccine against COVID-19 must be patient, because even if it has obtained all the authorizations, the doses are not yet available.
"The production of doses is currently underway," confirms the Quebec company's publicist who cannot, however, specify the date of the first vaccination. The Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services predicted last month that the vaccine would be available "towards the end of May".
Since May 11, the vaccine has been included in the Quebec Immunization Protocol, the last step before its distribution in vaccination centers.
"The vaccine could be administered, but we still haven't received any doses," confirmed Marjorie Larouche, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, attributing the delay to the federal government. Health Canada replied that delivery should begin "later in the spring" without specifying a date and referred Le Journal to "the province".
Based on a deactivated protein of the coronavirus (and not on RNA like that of Pfizer-BioNtech), the Covifenz vaccine from Medicago is "awaited by a part of the population which, for various reasons, is not currently vaccinated or is not adequately,” says virologist Benoit Barbeau, from UQAM.
Made in the fibers of tobacco plants, the active product of the vaccine provides 71% protection against infection after two doses and 100% against severe forms of the disease. This success rate seems lower than those of the first vaccines, but it was tested at a time when more contagious variants appeared.
rejected by WHO
If it seems to come late since the pandemic is running out of steam all over the world, it is welcome, because it adds to the pharmaceutical arsenal aimed at defeating the virus once and for all.
For now, only Canada has approved this vaccine, which the World Health Organization rejected last March due to the presence of a tobacco company among the shareholders.
-With Nora T. Lamontagne