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“The problem of national vaccine supply has been identified as a problem after the H1N1 pandemic,” she said. “This question in itself should not have come as a surprise to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health or the Minister of Public Procurement when reviewing a plan to deploy the COVID vaccine.
Andrew Casey, president and CEO of Biotech Canada, an industry association, said the Prime Minister was partially right, especially with the top candidates.
“For two of the three vaccines that we know now, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they are mRNA vaccines, which there is no manufacture for that in Canada,” he said. “In fact, it’s very limited around the world because it’s such a new vaccine.”
Prime Minister told the House that Canadians will be the first to receive the vaccine
Casey said there is abundant manufacturing capacity in Canada for vaccine manufacturing, but it uses different types of technology and cannot easily switch to something different.
“One type of vaccine is like making wine and the other is like making coke. Yes, they are both bottled and you can drink them through straws, but they are very different processes.
He said manufacturers in Canada also had other orders they were processing for influenza and childhood vaccines, and they couldn’t just abandon that production for COVID even though the technology was interchangeable. Given Canada’s limitations, Casey said, purchasing access to as many doses as possible from other countries was a good decision.
Casey said for the big pharmaceutical companies it will take more than money to build facilities in Canada and the government will need to think about investments in research, drug pricing and regulatory structures and others. Questions.