Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada doesn’t need to approve additional vaccine candidates to meet its goal of inoculating everyone who wants a COVID-19 shot by September and that its target could be reached ahead of schedule.
Canada gave the green light to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s messenger RNA vaccines last month, but independent regulators are still reviewing other candidates, such as the AstraZeneca-Oxford product.
“Prior to Christmas … we exercised 20 million options of Moderna. So that allows us to have 40 million doses of Moderna now in addition to our 20 million Pfizer doses,” Anand said on Sunday in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. “That allows us to hit about 30 million Canadians.”
Under the contracts it has signed, Ottawa can still buy 16 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine and 56 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech product. Both vaccines must be administered twice.
Anand told CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton that discussions are ongoing to exercise those options.
“We will be on track, without doubt, to ensure inoculations for all Canadians who want it by the end of September, if not sooner,” she said. “That is the goal that I am pursuing every single day, moving up that end of September timeline so that we can see ourselves through to the other side of this pandemic as quickly as possible.”
New vaccine tracking platform on the way
Anand also revealed that the federal government will announce this week its efforts to establish a new technology system to track and manage the distribution of vaccines across the country.
According to documents obtained by the Globe and Mail, the platform is intended to assist provinces in placing orders and tracking adverse effects. The government issued a request for proposals to seven suppliers in December seeking to build such a system.
CBC News has learned from industry sources briefed on the decision that accounting firm Deloitte is the winning company behind the request.
Anand’s department confirmed to CBC that Deloitte was awarded the contract, which is valued at more than $16 million, on Jan. 7.
“The goal of this additional procurement was to enhance the capabilities across the country to ensure that we have the most seamless IT system possible as we go through this complex period in our country’s history,” Anand said.