All of the country's provinces and territories are working hand-in-hand with Ottawa today on a Canada COVID-19 vaccine trial run.
The newly named vice president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, Major General Dany Fortin, announced the trial run during a media briefing on Friday afternoon.
"We [will be] hard at it in the next couple of weeks to ensure that we are ready,” Fortin says.
I like the idea of being ready before the Christmas time frame so we are certain to be ready when it comes in January.”
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin
The main operations centre for the trial run is located in Ottawa, where they are focused on the successful roll-out of a two-phase vaccination campaign starting in early 2021.
The vaccines require careful attention in storage, handling, and distribution, all of which the provinces and territories are practicing doing today.
According to Fortin, the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored in incredibly cold temperatures — -70 degree celsius — while the Moderna vaccine can be stored in approximately -30 degree celsius temperatures.
The Pfizer vaccine is particularly sensitive, requiring specially-built boxes to move the vials in. The boxes shouldn't be opened for more than a minute at a time and not more than twice a day. They must always be transported on dry ice, as well.
Both vaccines also have a relatively short shelf life after being thawed.
Distribution protocols will depend on which vaccine is being distributed, but officials, provinces, and territories are running through multiple scenarios today.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced Monday morning that Canada will secure hundreds of thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine before the end of the year.