The Manitoba government has agreed to purchase two million doses of a new, Canadian-researched and Manitoba-produced mRNA COVID-19 vaccine currently undergoing clinical trials to ensure Manitobans and Canadians have access to a secure supply of a promising new vaccine to protect them against current and future variants of the virus, Premier Brian Pallister announced, Feb. 11.
“The number one limiting factor in administering life-saving immunizations to Canadians is the lack of a secure domestic vaccine supply made here in Canada,” said Pallister. “Today, we are reliant on the federal government buying vaccines from pharmaceutical companies located offshore. The result has been Canadians receiving needed COVID-19 vaccines slower than almost 50 other countries, with weekly disruptions in supply.”
Alberta-based Providence Therapeutics is developing an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. These types of vaccines are more adaptable to variants of the COVID-19 virus. The first clinical trials are underway, with the second round anticipated to begin this spring. Health Canada approval of the new vaccine is expected later this year.
Manitoba’s agreement with Providence Therapeutics, called a term sheet, will ensure Manitoba receives the first 200,000 doses of their new vaccine as soon as it is approved for sale in Canada. It includes a best-price guarantee that will be no higher than any other government receives. In total, Manitoba will receive two million doses, more than enough to vaccinate every Manitoban who wants one.
“This is great news for Manitobans and Canadians. We welcome the initiative demonstrated by the Manitoba government as this means that we are now on course to manufacture and deliver a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada in 2021,” said Brad Sorenson, CEO of Providence Therapeutics.
The drug product manufacturing and filling of vials with vaccine is planned to be done by Emergent BioSolutions, at its manufacturing facility in Winnipeg.
“Building a secure, made-in-Canada vaccine supply will put Canadians at the head of the line to get a COVID vaccine, where we belong,” said Pallister.
He has written to the prime minister and every premier, inviting them to join this initiative on behalf of every Canadian.
“Acting now is the best way to prepare for the virus’ variants to come,” said Pallister. “Investing in Canadian know-how and can-do is the best insurance policy against COVID we can make.”