Canada Administers Its 1st COVID-19 Vaccine Shots : Coronavirus Updates Canada joins the United Kingdom and the United States as the first Western countries to provide the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as the coronavirus pandemic rages toward winter.

Canada Administers Its 1st COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The U.S. isn't the only country to begin a mass vaccination program this week. Canada has also started administering the country's first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults and health care workers are among the first to receive shots. Emma Jacobs has more from Montreal.

EMMA JACOBS, BYLINE: Monday morning, 89-year-old Gisele Levesque, a resident of the Saint-Antoine nursing home in Quebec City, became the first Canadian to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

JACOBS: Later, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu spoke after meeting newly vaccinated 78-year-old Gloria Lallouz at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Montreal.

PATTY HAJDU: I felt emotional because I know how worried and anxious families and health care workers are all across the country, how we've all worked so hard as a country to save lives and stop the spread.

JACOBS: Provinces have each set their own priority groups for vaccination. In Ontario, nursing home care workers were the first to be vaccinated. Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada is on track to receive up to 249,000 doses from Pfizer by the end of the year. Vaccination requires two doses, so these represent a small fraction of what will be needed to vaccinate a population of more than 37 million Canadians.

ANITA ANAND: The important thing that we want to make sure is that all Canadians get vaccinated, not just those at the front of the line. So it's very much the long game here.

JACOBS: More than 13,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Canada since the spring.

For NPR News, I'm Emma Jacobs in Montreal.

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