Currently there are no approved vaccines for COVID-19
At some point Canadians hope that a COVID-19 vaccine is eminent. In the mean time, the Canadian Government continues to take steps to ensure that Canadians can access future vaccines and treatments while ensuring the healthcare system has the tools required for effectively deployment them when that time comes.
Today Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services announced that the Government of Canada has signed agreements with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to secure up to 72 million doses of their COVID-19 adjuvanted recombinant protein-based vaccine candidate.
Based on recommendations from the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, the Government of Canada is signing agreements with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies to establish a guaranteed supply base of potential vaccine candidates. Agreements have previously been signed with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, and negotiations continue for access to other leading vaccine candidates.
Currently, no vaccines have been approved to prevent COVID-19 in Canada. Many vaccines are in clinical trials or under development domestically or internationally. Once vaccines are ready, companies will need to make submissions for authorization to Health Canada. Health Canada will review the evidence of safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality for each vaccine to determine whether individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada before they are made available to Canadians.
At the same time, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, an external advisory group of vaccine and public health experts, will provide federal, provincial and territorial governments with guidance for safe and effective vaccine use for Canadians.
While significant work is underway to develop vaccines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is also focused on therapeutics to treat Canadians who have contracted the virus.
Minister Anand announced that the Government of Canada has signed an agreement with Gilead Sciences and McKesson Canada to secure a supply of up to 150,000 vials of remdesivir, with deliveries beginning this month and continuing into early 2021. Currently, remdesivir is the only known anti-viral drug that has been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients.
The Government of Canada has also signed two contracts with SiO2 International Inc. to purchase syringes and vials for use in filling up to 80 million doses of vaccine, with deliveries beginning this month.