Ottawa Looks To Secure Potential COVID-19 Vaccines

Henrietta Brewer
August 6, 2020

Canada now has deals in place with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and US -based biotech firm Moderna to secure millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines, in case either of the candidates is approved for wide-scale use.

Millions of doses will be supplied, but the vaccines are still in development while negotiations continue with other potential suppliers, Procurement Minister Anita Anand told a news conference. There are now no approved vaccines for COVID-19. Public Citizen and Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) wrote to the federal government Friday, noting that Moderna has been ignoring public disclosure provisions in its vaccine development funding contract.

The Massachusetts biotech's charging between $32 to $37 per dose for its mRNA shot, dubbed mRNA-1273, for some "smaller-volume" purchasers, the company said on Wednesday. The goal is to have enough supplies to give every Canadian two doses of a vaccine. Once the health crisis is contained, the price will come in line with those of commercial vaccines, he said.


Anand said Pfizer is evaluating at least four experimental vaccine candidates and is now undergoing clinical trials.

Moderna, which has no drugs on the market, has received almost $1 billion from the USA government under a plan to speed up vaccine development.

Pfizer said July 22 that it has a US$1.95-billion agreement to supply 100 million doses to the USA government, with an option for 500 million more.


Moderna has said the results of the human trials of its vaccine could be made public as early as October. Bains announced a $56-million contribution to Variation Biotechnologies Inc.to support clinical trials of its vaccine candidate. Canada said in April it would spend C$1.1 billion to bolster vaccine research, clinical trials and national testing.

On Tuesday, Canada's chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, warned that a vaccine will be a "very important aspect of the response", but will not bring a swift end to the coronavirus outbreak.


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