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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott speaks during a news conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, on Nov. 17, 2020.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Ontario’s health minister says Canada expects to begin receiving millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines early in the new year.

Christine Elliott says the country is set to get four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine between January and March as well as two million doses of Moderna’s vaccine.

She said in question period that 1.6 million doses of the Pfizer and 800,000 of the Moderna vaccines are destined for Ontario.

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Pfizer said today it intends to seek approval for emergency use of its novel coronavirus vaccine after new test results showed it is 95 per cent effective, is safe, and works to protects vulnerable older adults.

Pfizer ends COVID-19 trial with 95% efficacy, to seek emergency-use authorization

Elliott says both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two shots, 21 days apart, which will provide a significant logistical challenge for authorities.

The announcement comes as cases continue to rise in many parts of the country. Both Quebec and Ontario reported more than 30 additional deaths today, as well as well over 1,000 new cases.

Nunavut, meanwhile, began a two-week shutdown of schools and non-essential businesses amid what the premier described as a significant rise in cases.

The territory reported 10 new COVID-19 infections today, bringing its total from 60 to 70.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam say COVID-19 is on a runaway rise in most of the country as the seasons for both holidays and colds and flu approach. They say strict public health rules might help but nothing is more important than following those rules and being extra cautious about spreading contagion — especially if people hope to have any sort of gatherings at Christmas. The Canadian Press

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