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First doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Canada

"This is another big step in our national vaccine rollout."
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The first doses of Moderna vaccine arrive in Canada on Christmas Eve.

The first doses of Canada's second approved COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, arrived in the country today. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared an image of the shipment arriving on Twitter, writing that the cargo contained part of the 168,000 doses Canada will receive before the end of the month.  

Additionally, he mentions that the 168,000 doses are part of the 40 million total doses guaranteed by the company. 

Health Canada approved the vaccine Wednesday, paving the way for the shots from U.S. biotech firm Moderna to start arriving in the country.

"This is another big step in our national vaccine rollout," said the Prime Minister in a Tweet.

"But it doesn’t mean we can let up just yet. The vaccine won’t help you if you get sick now. So keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, and avoiding gatherings." 

COVID-19 vaccines in B.C.

On Wednesday (Dec. 23), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed questions regarding Canada's recently approved COVID-19 vaccines during the daily coronavirus briefing. 

Henry underscored that health officials are focusing on priority groups with the limited amount of vaccine the province expects to have in January. However, after that time, they will look into expanding these groups. 

"And we know the people who are most at risk, are people by age and underlying conditions, and when we looked at all of the data in Canada and other countries are doing the same--when we look at people who have heart disease for example or have kidney issues or have cancer," she explained. 

"And we try and say who is most at risk: Age is the most important factor."

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends five years increments, as the vaccine becomes available. And within those age groups, people who have underlying conditions will hopefully be prioritized within those age groups, Henry added. 

Even though some people will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine soon, it is still very important to follow public health orders, wash your hands, physical distance, wear a mask and stay home when sick. These layers of protection are still essential for all people in B.C.

--With a file from the Canadian Press.