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Are the vaccines experimental?
The short answer to this question is no.
The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines now have full Health Canada approval in Canada, as of September 16, 2021. Pfizer also has full FDA approval in the U.S.
Initially, the vaccines in Canada were authorized under an “interim order” by Health Canada. In the U.S., the FDA initially authorized vaccines under an “emergency use authorization.” This caused some confusion, leading to rumours that the COVID-19 vaccines were not properly reviewed or are experimental. This is not, and was not, the case. The interim order process was set up to expedite the review and authorization of vaccines without skipping any important steps, while still ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective.
It should be noted that the Health Canada interim order pathway was created not only to avoid delays in authorizing COVID-19 vaccines, but also to authorize the expanded use of an existing drug for preventing or treating COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada have gone through rigorous clinical trials and regulatory reviews. See our Q&A about the research and approval process.