Canada has begun its first BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations. A caregiver in Ontario and an octogenarian in Quebec received the first vaccine shots on Monday.
In a publicly televised vaccination, Anita Quidangen received the injection at a hospital in Toronto as part of a historic moment in the country dubbed by some as “V-Day.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Quidangen is a personal support worker in Toronto. He tweeted that while this is “a big step forward in our fight against the virus, we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker in Toronto, was one of the first people in Canada to be given Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. This is a big step forward in our fight against the virus, but we’re not out of the woods yet. pic.twitter.com/BCEkdoBWqy
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 15, 2020
“She has worked tirelessly to care for some of our most vulnerable, both throughout this pandemic and since her first days as a PSW in 1988. Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford in a statement.
The first vaccine shots were administered just days after the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine was given the green light in the country.
89-year-old Gisele Levesque, another Canadian woman, received the vaccine shot in a retirement home in Quebec City.
Canada Health Minister Patty Hajdu expressed elation after the historic event. She tweeted, “Congratulations to everyone involved, and thank you for your dedication and hard work.”
The first doses of the vaccine have now been administered in Canada, including here in Montreal! Congratulations to everyone involved, and thank you for your dedication and hard work. pic.twitter.com/8YlvO5KZZS
— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) December 14, 2020
This week, about 14 sites across the 10 provinces will be receiving Canada’s initial 30,000 doses.
Canada is expected to receive up to 249,000 doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine by the end of December.
Health officials said the country is set to receive six million doses of BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — the latter currently awaiting the go-ahead of authorities — in the first quarter of 2021.
The doses would be able to vaccinate about three million people with two doses.
Prime Minister Trudeau has promised that most Canadians should be vaccinated by September 2021.
In the United States, a critical care nurse in New York became the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.