“We are increasingly focusing on the next step in our recovery, including preparing Canada for mass vaccinations,” Anand said at a press conference, stressing the need to diversify supply chains .
“Today we are taking an important step forward.”
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Pfizer also signed an agreement with the U.S. government last month to deliver the first 100 million doses of the vaccine it is developing in December.
Anand said the deals would cover “millions of doses”, but did not specify the exact amount, adding that the goal is to ensure “Canadians are on the front line when a vaccine becomes available” .
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Any vaccine will still need to be approved by Health Canada before being deployed.
“The contracts reflect Health Canada’s approval requirement and in particular, once that has happened, we expect deliveries, if all goes well, in 2021,” Anand said.
She was repeatedly asked why she would not give the amount of vaccine ordered.
Anand said the government was taking an approach that includes both firm orders and options to buy larger from suppliers, but said she would wait to share details on the doses ordered while negotiations with d other suppliers are continuing.
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“We negotiate very, very intensely multiple agreements with multiple suppliers,” she said.
“The dose information will come.”
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The news of the vaccine supply agreements comes after Canada’s top doctors warned on Tuesday that restrictions in place to prevent the virus from spreading may have to stay for two or three years, even if a vaccine is found, because it won’t will not be what Dr Theresa Tam called a ‘silver bullet’.
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“We’re definitely going to have to deal with this pandemic over the next year, but we certainly may be planning longer term for the next two to three years in which the vaccine could play a role,” Tam told reporters .
Howard Njoo, deputy director of public health, offered similar words of warning.
“People might think that if we get a vaccine everything will go back to normal as before. This is not the case, ”he said.
“Any measures that we have put in place now will have to continue with the new reality for a while.
Tam: pandemic can last for years, even with COVID-19 vaccine
Anand said what the best doctors were explaining was true.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to pulling Canadians and the Canadian economy out of the pandemic. Multiple efforts on several fronts need to be made and monitored and therefore in terms of vaccination it probably wouldn’t be mandatory as Dr Tam mentioned, ”said Anand.
“This is additional protection that will hopefully be offered to Canadians who are making monumental efforts now to wear PPE. [personal protective equipment], to stay at home, at a social distance. “
“We all want a quick fix, but unfortunately this is not the case.”
Innovation and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains added at the press conference that the government would also inject more funds into vaccine research as well as treatment research in the form of a new working group.
“Until we can immunize all Canadians, we also need to focus on treatments for those who contract the virus,” Bains said, adding that no decision has been made on whether a vaccine would be compulsory.
Mr. Bains was asked if the government is working on a plan to determine who will get the vaccine first if a vaccine becomes available.
He said those decisions will be made in consultation with provincial and public health leaders.
“These are still the early stages. Much of the work is at the clinical stage, so it’s important to manage expectations, ”he said. “This vaccine will not be developed overnight.”
Anand said vulnerable populations would likely top this list.
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