Federal authorities align COVID vaccine supply, leave key questions unanswered


The federal government on Wednesday announced agreements with Pfizer Canada Inc. and U.S. biotech company Moderna Inc. to deliver millions of doses of their COVID-19 vaccines to Canada, but questions regarding cost and precise supply volumes remain unanswered.The two companies began Phase 3 clinical trials of their candidate vaccines in late July to determine their effectiveness after previously reporting positive results from smaller trials.

Pressed by reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand declined to specify the number of guaranteed doses or the cost of supply agreements, which are subject to success clinical and Health Canada approval.

According to a statement released by Pfizer on Wednesday, its deal with Canada would see shipments of the vaccine it is co-developing with BioNTech SE within the next year. The companies hope to begin the regulatory review process as early as October and aim to deliver up to 100 million doses of vaccine globally by the end of this year and around 1.3 billion doses by the end of this year. 2021.

“We continue to be committed to working with the Canadian government to help fight this pandemic and we are pleased with their collaborative approach to discuss a national COVID-19 vaccination strategy with public health officials,” said Pfizer Canada President Cole Pinnow in a statement.

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Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who joined Anand for the press conference, announced that the federal government will invest $ 56 million to support vaccine development in Canada.

The announcements came a day after public health official Theresa Tam warned of waiting for a vaccine to end the pandemic quickly, saying they give hope but are not probably not silver bullets for the novel coronavirus.

Canada was not the only country to announce a major supply agreement on Wednesday. Johnson & Johnson Inc. said it has signed an agreement with the United States to provide 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Michael Gardam, Humber River Hospital chief of staff and infectious disease specialist, has warned that there are risks in reaching a vaccine deal before all phases of a clinical trial are successfully completed.

“There is a chance that we will sign up for a vaccine, which at the end of the day is not the one we really want. And the one we really want is the one everyone wants at the same time, ”Gardam told BNN Bloomberg’s Anita Sharma in a TV interview.

“Ottawa had to act because the way the world is today [is] sort of “every man for himself”. And you are concerned that another country – for example the United States – is cornering the vaccine market and that we may not be able to access it. So we have to intervene early before we even have a final product. ”

He added that the agreements reached by Ottawa were with two companies which had “good prospects”.

“But there’s really no guarantee at this point,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press


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