The Government of Canada has entered into two agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Pfizer will supply its BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate, while Moderna will provide its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate.
All potential vaccines will require Health Canada regulatory approval prior to being used to vaccinate Canadians. Active negotiations with other potential vaccine suppliers are also underway.
A news release states that the Government of Canada is aggressively pursuing the purchase and development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and related supplies to protect Canadians and is working to strengthen Canada’s bio-manufacturing sector. This includes engaging with international and domestic scientists and with businesses and manufacturers that are stepping up to fight COVID-19.
The Government of Canada is investing in projects that will position Canada at the forefront of the global race to find a treatment and a vaccine for COVID-19 while building domestic capabilities to fight future pandemics.
“The Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians. That’s why we are working hard on all possible fronts to deliver safe and effective treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 for Canadians as fast as possible. Guided by the expertise of these task forces, which has informed the VBI investment announced today, we are leaving no stone unturned in exploring every promising option to enhance our research and development capacity for long-term emergency preparedness.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
- On April 23, 2020, the Government of Canada announced more than $1 billion in support of the Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19 that includes developing vaccines, producing treatments and tracking the virus. This includes $600 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund to support COVID-19 vaccine and therapy clinical trials led by the private sector, as well as to support Canadian biomanufacturing opportunities. The Strategic Innovation Fund contribution to VBI is part of this plan.
- This investment in VBI is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to Canada’s economy. This investment will help create and maintain up to 30 full-time jobs.
- The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, with a secretariat supported by the National Research Council of Canada, is mandated to provide advice to the Government of Canada on developing and producing COVID-19 vaccines.
- The COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force, supported by a secretariat housed at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, is mandated to provide advice to the Government of Canada on COVID-19 therapeutics.
- At this time, there are no vaccines authorized for the prevention of COVID-19, but there are many in clinical trials or in development. For each candidate vaccine, once additional studies have been completed, Health Canada will review evidence of safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality to make a decision on whether the individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada.
- The Vaccine Task Force will be in place for at least twelve months, and the Therapeutics Task Force for at least six months, subject to extension at the discretion of the Government of Canada. Both task forces meet regularly as needed.
- Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada are working together, along with the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, to prepare for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies.
- As active negotiations with other potential vaccine suppliers are underway, the Government of Canada cannot disclose contract details at this time.
- Pfizer is a biopharmaceutical company involved in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including medicines and vaccines.
- Moderna is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of medicines and vaccines made of messenger RNA.