Canada is signing deals with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna to procure millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced the deals Wednesday morning in Toronto, which will ensure Canada gets access to the vaccines if they prove to be both safe and effective.
“We are increasingly focused on the next stage of our recovery, including preparing Canada for mass vaccinations,” said Anand in a press conference.
“Today we are taking an important step forward.”
Both companies began Phase 3 clinical trials of their vaccine candidates in the last week, large-scale tests to determine how well the vaccines work.
Today we announced an agreement with the Government of @Canada to supply our BNT162 mRNA-based #vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, subject to clinical success and Health Canada approval.#COVID19 @BioNTech_Group @PfizerCA pic.twitter.com/FtWQRpg5zJ
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) August 5, 2020
Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials.
The Phase 3 trials will both test the vaccines on 30,000 people and results are expected in the fall.
Anand suggested on Wednesday that agreements will be for “millions of doses,” however, she didn’t specify the exact amount of each dose.
Canadian officials continue to push the message that our country hopes to be at the “front of the line” as soon as a vaccine is made available.
Earlier this week, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned about expecting a vaccine to provide a quick end to the pandemic, saying they provide hope but likely no “silver bullet” for the novel coronavirus.
Deputy chief public health officer, Howard Njoo, echoed Tam’s sentiments on Tuesday.
“People might think that if we get a vaccine then everything goes back to normal the way it was before. That’s not the case,” he said. “All of the measures we’ve put in place now will still have to continue with the new reality for quite some time.”
Any potential vaccine for COVID-19 will still need approval by Health Canada before being rolled out.
Canada has seen nearly 118,000 cases of COVID-19 during the health crisis to date and global cases have surpassed 18 million.
With files to Canadian Press.