Senior Clinical Research Nurse Ajithkumar Sukumaran prepares the COVID 19 vaccine to administer to a volunteer, at a clinic in London, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Scientists at Imperial College London are immunizing hundreds of people with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an early trial after seeing no worrying safety problems in a small number vaccinated so far. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Canada signs deals with two suppliers for potential COVID-19 vaccines

This is the third such deal Canada has made with COVID-19 vaccine developers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government has signed agreements with two more American suppliers to reserve millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines for Canadians.

Deals are now in place for Canada to get access to vaccines being tested by both Johnson & Johnson and Novavax. Earlier this month Ottawa signed similar deals with Pfizer and Moderna.

“Their most recent vaccine tests show promising results,” said Trudeau. “That’s why we’re making sure that if one of these potential vaccines is successful, Canada and Canadians will have access to the doses they need.”

The vaccines are still in either Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials and won’t be purchased unless they are deemed safe and effective by Health Canada.

Trudeau says all told Canada could get access to at least 88 million doses of vaccines. Some vaccines will require more than one dose to be effective.

The agreement with Novavax, a Maryland-based biotech company, is for up to 76 million doses of its vaccine, which is in Phase 2 clinical trials in the United States and Australia right now. That means it’s being tested for safety and efficacy in a fairly small number of people. The earliest date that vaccine might be ready for widespread use is next spring.

The agreement with Johnson & Johnson is for up to 38 million doses. A Phase 1 and 2 trial of that vaccine is underway in the U.S. and Belgium.

The government says some of the doses of whatever vaccine is approved may be produced at a new biomanufacturing facility at the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre in Montreal. The new facility is intended to produce up to two million doses of vaccine a month by the end of next summer.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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