Health Canada on U.K. authorization of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

HEALTH Canada said in a statement on Wednesday that it is aware that the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued an authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca.

It said it has been reviewing AstraZeneca’s vaccine since it was submitted on October 1 and is expediting the review of COVID-19 vaccines. This is being done through rolling submissions, where data is being reviewed as it becomes available from the manufacturer. Rolling submissions allow for shorter review times without compromising safety, efficacy and quality, as part of the Interim Order Respecting the Importation, Sale and Advertising of Drugs for Use in Relation to COVID-19, which was signed on September 16.

Health Canada said there is still information and data to be provided by AstraZeneca for review, and added that it cannot provide a definite timeline for the completion of the review at this time.

The Department is working closely with international regulators, including the U.K. MHRA, to share information and data on vaccines currently under review.

Health Canada said it is working hard to give Canadians access to COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible without compromising its safety, efficacy and quality standards, and that protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority.

On December 9, Health Canada authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Health Canada subsequently authorized a second COVID-19 vaccine, on December 23, manufactured by Moderna.