Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

VIEW 'Light at the end of the tunnel,' as Canada approves COVID-19 vaccine

7 minute read

Dec 9 (Reuters) - Health Canada on Wednesday approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE), clearing the way for shots to be delivered and administered across the country.

The nation's first coronavirus vaccine green light comes under a new interim order system that allows for accelerated approval very similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorizations.

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COMMENTARY

JASON LANDAU, PORTFOLIO MANAGER AT WARATAH CAPITAL:

"As a global citizen you couldn’t be happier as there is light at the end of the tunnel. As an investor we can now turn our attention to 2022 and appropriately assess a company’s earnings potential. We think 2022 will be a pivotal year for stocks as the majority of vaccinations won't occur until the end of 2021 when the true winners and losers from this pandemic will become apparent. We will finally be able to determine which companies have had true terminal value impairment and which companies have seen their end markets grow or capture additional market share."

Grand Council Chief Glen Hare of the Anishinabek Nation, which represents 39 indigenous nations in Ontario, said leaders are excited about the vaccine's approval, and happy that Ontario has listed indigenous communities as top priorities to receive the vaccine.

But he emphasized that it will be crucial for vaccine deployment initiatives to work hand in hand with the communities themselves, including communicating in the local language to the elders.

"Don't just show up and say, We're here to do this, can we see your elder?" he said. "They're going to get a negative response... Everyone's trying their best to do it right the first time. We have to get through to (our elders) and you have to do that with us and with a language speaker."

MICHAEL BREEN, DIRECTOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND OPHTHALMOLOGY, GLOBALDATA:

"Although up to 250,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine could be available this year in Canada, and the vaccine is highly effective, widespread vaccination remains a faraway goal and social distancing and mask wearing will remain the main tools to curb further spread of the virus during the winter."

"Regarding safety, news of two severe allergic reactions in the UK is worrisome; however, these two reactions were in individuals known to have these types of reactions, and were adequately prepared for this kind of emergency. Importantly, this news was not expected, and vigilance must remain high in these early days of this mass vaccination campaign."

NORMAN LEVINE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT CORP:

"I am really quite pleased that Health Canada acted very quickly on the Pfizer vaccine approval and has deemed it to be quite safe and that people will start getting inoculated, which is needed to get the economy back to some semblance of normal."

"The problem is that Canada like almost every other country it appears is receiving a token amount from Pfizer to start with and it is going to be some time before meaningful amounts start flowing to Canada and other countries."

"Investors should be looking at what are things going to be like when the vaccine rollout is in full force ... it is going to be good for Canada and the world economy once the vaccinations start rolling out in a meaningful fashion."

ALLAN SMALL, SENIOR INVESTMENT ADVISER AT ALLAN SMALL FINANCIAL GROUP WITH HOLLISWEALTH:

"The approval of the vaccine in North America in general... will be great for the economy... You will see the markets reflect that in the coming months."

"If you combine the vaccine with the current environment for investing, low interest rates, low inflation, government stimulus, central bank accommodation, I believe it’s tremendous, probably the best environment you could have for the economy and for the stock market going into 2021."

"Overall, distribution is going to be an issue, getting the vaccine out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible... (But) you're going to have five or six companies distributing the vaccine early on in the New Year."

"We will have to live through the next month or two, with case counts in the U.S. and Canada going higher, but once we get past January into February and March, I think it is going to be even more optimistic than it is today."

FRANCOIS LEGAULT, QUEBEC PREMIER:

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the newly-approved vaccine will help alleviate pressure on the province's congested hospitals once vulnerable people such as health care workers, along with residents of seniors’ homes and long-term care facilities are inoculated.

"Once these three groups are vaccinated the situation will improve a lot," he told reporters.

Quebec expects 55,000 doses of the vaccine from now through January 4 and 1.3 million doses from now to March 31.

JOSH NYE, A SENIOR ECONOMIST AT ROYAL BANK OF CANADA:

"Relative to our assumptions from a few months ago, what we are seeing on the vaccine front probably means Canada's recovery is going to gain momentum as 2021 progresses and the economy will get back to full capacity sooner than we had been anticipating and probably sooner than the Bank of Canada had expected."

"We've seen a second wave of coronavirus infections and health restrictions being tightened in light of that. That is sapping momentum from the economic recovery in Q4 (the fourth quarter) and heading into 2021. But the positive vaccine news that we have seen over the past month and indications that vaccines are probably going to start being rolled out over the first half of 2021, that creates quite a lot of light at the end of the tunnel."

DR. SAQIB SHAHAB, SASKATCHEWAN'S CHIEF MEDICAL HEALTH OFFICER:

"What a remarkable achievement it is for us to have a vaccine 10 months into a pandemic. But it will take time.”

SCOTT MOE, PREMIER OF SASKATCHEWAN:

"Now we expect to receive those vaccines more quickly than was originally anticipated, and in greater quantities than we originally anticipated."

Reporting by Rod Nickel Editing by Denny Thomas

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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