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“The domestic vaccine supply problem was identified as a problem after the H1N1 pandemic,” he said. “This problem in and of itself shouldn’t come as a surprise to the Prime Minister or the Minister of Health or the Minister of Procurement when he reviewed a COVID vaccine launch plan.”
Andrew Casey, president and CEO of Biotech Canada an industry association, said the prime minister is partially right, especially with the top candidates.
“For two of the three vaccines we now know, Pfizer and Moderna, those are mRNA vaccines, which doesn’t exist in Canada,” he said. “In fact, it’s very limited worldwide because it’s such a new vaccine.”
The prime minister told the House that Canadians would be the first to receive the vaccine
Casey said there is a lot of manufacturing capacity in Canada for the production of vaccines, but it uses different types of technology and cannot easily be transferred to something different.
“One type of vaccine is like making wine and the other is like making coke. Yes, they are both bottled and you can drink them with straws, but they are very different processes. “
He said manufacturers in Canada also have other orders they are processing for the flu and childhood vaccinations, and they couldn’t just eliminate that production for COVID even if the technology was interchangeable. Given Canada’s limitations, Casey said, buying access to as many doses as possible from other countries was a good move.
Casey said large pharmaceutical companies will take more than just money to build facilities in Canada and the government will have to think about investment in research, drug pricing and regulatory structures and other issues.