Canada approaches manufacturers to push domestic vaccine production – Minister
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Thursday Canada “proactively and repeatedly” approached manufacturers to push domestic vaccine production, but the country’s biomedical capacity was “too limited” to justify the investment of capital and expertise to start manufacturing,
Anand told the House of Commons industry committee that her department “proactively and repeatedly approached leading vaccine manufacturers” about the matter.
“We took this issue up with suppliers at every turn at the negotiating table to discern whether they would come to the table with this possibility of domestic biomanufacturing,” Anand said.
“The manufacturers reviewed the identified assets here in Canada and concluded that biomanufacturing capacity in this country, at the time of contract, which was last August and September, was too limited to justify the investment of capital and expertise to start manufacturing in Canada.”
Canada ultimately signed with seven drugmakers, including Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, which received Health Canada approval and started shipments late last year. But both have scaled back promised deliveries in recent weeks.
A spokesman for AstraZeneca confirmed Anand’s statements related to its vaccine, known as AZD1222.
“During the course of our discussions with the Canadian government, we reviewed in-country manufacturing capability and available capacity against the technical requirements for AZD1222,” said Carlo Mastrangelo, AstraZeneca’s director of corporate communications and sustainability.
“After discussion with the government and our technical experts, we agreed that the fastest and most effective option to ensure timely Canadian supply of AZD1222 was to leverage an existing supply chain that was already established and beginning the qualification process.”