Canada on Wednesday approved the emergency use of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and German partner BioNTech SE, becoming the third country to do so following Britain and Bahrain.

Vaccinations in the country are likely to start next week, initially targeting elderly people and medical staff in nursing care facilities, with a supply of around 250,000 doses expected to be provided by the end of the year, according to local media reports.

People aged 15 or younger will be excluded from the planned coronavirus vaccination.

Canadian health authorities indicate that vaccination for the general public is expected to start next spring.

In the face of a resurgence of coronavirus infections, many countries are scrambling to approve vaccines and secure necessary quantities for their populations.

Earlier this month, Britain and Bahrain approved the use of the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech. The United States, the country which has seen the world's highest number of infection cases and fatalities in the pandemic, is also expected to greenlight COVID-19 vaccines soon.

In Canada, over 430,000 people have been infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly contagious coronavirus, leaving about 12,000 people dead, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.