Federal government signs agreements with Novavax and Johnson & Johnson to obtain millions of doses of vaccine

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OTTAWA – The federal government has reached agreements with Novavax and Johnson & Johnson to obtain millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The deals are dependent on Health Canada approval, but if the trials go ahead as planned, deliveries to Canada will begin in early 2021. The government has also signed agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna for access to millions of doses of their unique candidates.

“Together, our vaccine deals with Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson will give Canada at least 88 million doses, with options to get tens of millions more,” Trudeau said at a conference. press Monday.

“Once a vaccine is proven, we will also need to be able to produce and distribute it here at home.

Trudeau also announced that the government would spend $ 126 million to expand the Montreal National Research Council’s bio-manufacturing plant, with a projected deadline of mid-2021.

“This funding will increase the capacity of this facility to manufacture vaccines and strengthen NRC’s partnerships with vaccine developers. ”

Infectious disease specialist Dr Isaac Bogoch says the candidate still has to overcome various regulatory hurdles before getting the green light, but this step indicates Canada is well placed in the global race to find a COVID-19 vaccine .

“It is wonderful to see that the federal government is looking at candidate vaccines, those who might be successful. We are aware that some of them may not be successful and we are sort of hedging our bets and we will have access to vaccines. when they are available, ”he told CTV News Channel on Monday.

This follows news last week that Chinese customs have halted the shipment of CanSino Biologics’ vaccine candidate to Canada, denying the possibility of starting human trials here.

“Due to the delay in shipping vaccine doses to Canada, it is evident that this specific opportunity is over and NRC is focusing its team and facilities on other partners and COVID-19 priorities,” said the National Research Council in a statement on Thursday.

As several trials testing various candidate vaccines progress around the world, there is currently no accepted cure or vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

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