Public Health Sudbury & Districts has issued the following Advisory Alert.
On December 9, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved by Health Canada with first shipments arriving in Canada on December 13. The Moderna/NIAID vaccine is not yet Health Canada approved as of December 13, 2020. Both vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) platforms.
COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA platforms contain modified nucleotides that code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. A lipid nanoparticle formulation delivers the mRNA into the recipient’s cells. Once inside a cell, the mRNA provides the instructions that allows the cell to manufacture the spike protein. Once manufactured, the spike protein exits the cell, and becomes anchored onto the cell’s surface. The immune system is activated to recognize the spike protein as foreign and initiates an immune response. The mRNA and the spike protein are then cleared by the immune system.
- mRNA vaccines are not live vaccines and cannot cause infection in the host.
- mRNA vaccines cannot alter a person’s DNA.
- mRNA technology has been used in cancer treatment, with tumour mRNA being used to help people’s immune systems recognise and respond to the proteins produced by their specific tumours.
- mRNA vaccines to date, come with logistical challenges for delivery due to vaccine storage and handling requirements needed to keep the vaccine stable.
The Province of Ontario has announced that the vaccine will rollout in three phases. The first phase is expected to last from now until the end of March 2021. During this time, the vaccine will be provided to those in the identified priority groups. As we enter the later phases of rollout, the vaccine will be available to all those who are interested in receiving it.
At the local level, Public Health Sudbury and Districts has partnered with key stakeholders in the community to plan for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. Once it becomes available in Northern Ontario, we will be prepared to implement the largest immunization program we’ve ever encountered.
For more information click Advisory_Alert_COVID-19_Vaccines_and_Provincial_Rollout.pdf.