COVID-19: Health Canada expects first vaccine to be approved next month

Henrietta Strickland
November 27, 2020

-Gen. Dany Fortin will be leading Canada's vaccine distribution efforts in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.

"The fact that we're the 10th largest economy in the world and can't produce vaccines, there's something deeply problematic about that", he said.

"If communities are not on board and convinced that a vaccine will protect their health, we will make little headway". Pfizer is set to ship more than six million doses as soon as that happens. A major investment also went to the University of Saskatchewan's VIDO-InterVac facility, but that is also more than a year away. They peppered Health Minister Patty Hajdu with questions about it at a committee hearing in the House of Commons Thursday night, including about Canada's own vaccine production capacity, details of the negotiations to get the Can-Sino vaccine from China which fell apart in the summer, and when Health Canada first learned the Pfizer vaccine needed specialty freezers to keep it at temperatures below -70C.

So far only Egypt, Morocco, Kenya and South Africa have active Covid-19 vaccine trials. The U.K. did not place an order until earlier this month. It would need to be able to manufacture vaccines using new and changing technology.

Malaysia, which will distribute the vaccine to its people for free, reported 1,109 new COVID-19 infections on Friday.

Pfizer is just one of seven vaccines Canada has a purchase agreement to get.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner said there is too little clarity for something so essential.

The downside risks to growth still persist in view of a possible second wave of COVID-19 and an uncertainty over vaccine availability, even though the latest data points suggest that economic activity has gathered pace, says a report.

"What happened to domestic manufacturing in Canada?"

Cueni, asked about the proposal, said: "For me this questioning of IP is really primarily politics, but it's politics which is not helpful because it would send very negative signals in terms of disrespect to the system which allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly". But we still have a number of months ahead of us where we will be fighting this plague.

The company is expected to release its vaccine's Phase-3 data after the government approval.

"It is comforting to know the vast majority of the public is supportive of the vaccine".

He added that it would be "extremely dangerous" for richer countries to vaccinate their populations and then impose travel restrictions on those without proof of vaccination.

Bernstein said the United Kingdom is building a facility near Oxford, a collaboration among the government, academia and industry, that would be a good model for something similar in Canada. He said vaccines were also a hard area for pharmaceutical firms to invest in because they only got to sell a vaccine once, compared to prescription medication.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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