Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks during question period at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks during question period at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba premier says his government will buy prospective Canadian vaccine directly

Manitoba has deal with Providence Therapeutics

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is preparing to buy two million doses of a prospective Canadian-made COVID-19 vaccine without going through the federal government.

Premier Brian Pallister says the deal with Providence Therapeutics is necessary because Ottawa has faced problems in getting steady supplies of the existing international Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

“We have learned the hard way that we cannot rely on only one source of supply and that supply is somewhere outside of Canada,” Pallister said Thursday.

Providence, which operates in Toronto and Calgary, started clinical trials last month and hopes to receive federal approval in the fall.

The company signed a term sheet with Manitoba that is contingent on that approval. The deal would see the province get the first 200,000 doses at a price no higher than any other government might secure in the coming months.

Providence’s chief executive officer said the company has been talking with other provinces as well.

“The provinces are very keen to have security of supply. They’re very keen to see this made in Canada,” Brad Sorenson said.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he has spoken with Sorenson and would like to see domestic vaccine production. But he said Providence has told him production in Canada would only be feasible with 50 million doses ordered.

“An order of that scale would obviously require co-operation across the country,” Kenney said in Edmonton.

Sorenson has asked the federal government for a deal but has not received an answer.

The company wants $150 million from Ottawa to pay for the clinical trials and material costs. In exchange, Providence would offer Canada a 30 per cent discount on market prices and priority access to vaccines that may be needed for variants and booster shots.

The federal minister for public services and procurement said ample supplies of vaccines that are already approved will be arriving in the coming months, and shipments from Pfizer are expected to more than quadruple next week.

“We have secured vaccines for all Canadians who wish to be vaccinated by the end of September 2021, if not before,” Anita Anand said in a statement.

Pallister said he wrote to the prime minister and other premiers Thursday to invite them to join the initiative. He said he didn’t expect any trouble from Ottawa for securing a provincial deal.

“Surely they wouldn’t stand in the way of provinces who have, throughout our history, been responsible for delivering health care,” Pallister said.

Manitoba’s Opposition New Democrats said they are worried the deal could fall through and pointed to problems the Progressive Conservative government has run into rolling out vaccines and testing sites.

But they support the initiative.

“We need domestic vaccine production capability here in Canada and, if this helps to accomplish that, then I think that that’s something we should welcome and support,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.

COVID-19 cases in Manitoba have dropped in recent weeks following a spike in the fall. Health officials reported 90 new cases and three deaths Thursday.

The demand on hospital intensive care units continues to drop as well. This week, for the first time since November, the number of people in intensive care beds for all health conditions dropped below 100.

— with files from Dean Bennett in Edmonton

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2021.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is hoping to win $50,000 through the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta ski club trying to win $50K in online contest

A central Alberta ski club has entered a contest where it can… Continue reading

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

Most Read