Vaccines and treatments | The Public Health Agency of Canada plans $ 5 billion

(Ottawa) The Public Health Agency of Canada plans to spend up to $ 5 billion on COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments.

Posted on March 3, 2021 at 7:39 p.m.

My Rabson
The Canadian Press

Federal budget documents show $ 5.3 billion was approved in December for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, which includes the purchase of doses and research and development.

Last month $ 5 billion was transferred from the current fiscal year to 2021-2022, with the next fiscal year starting on 1is avril.

The Public Health Agency of Canada told The Canadian Press that it is “to ensure continuity of funding to match the schedule of payments as vaccines are delivered.”

Only 6.5 million of the roughly 240 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that Canada is guaranteed to buy will be delivered before the end of March.

The mystery hovers around the price Canada pays for vaccines, as contracts with suppliers are covered by confidentiality clauses that prohibit the federal government from saying how much it spends for each dose.

Supply Minister Anita Anand said in September that Canada allocated $ 1 billion for vaccines after signing deals with five companies for 154 million guaranteed doses, as well as options to add 108 million more.

In addition, $ 220 million has been allocated to purchase up to 15 million doses of COVAX, the international vaccine sharing program.

Soon after, Canada added 20 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 20 million more of Medicago, which is the only Canadian company in the batch. Neither was included in the original billion dollars.

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Since then, Canada has also doubled its Pfizer-BioNTech order to 40 million doses, increased its Moderna order from 20 million doses to 44 million and purchased two million additional doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Serum. Institute of India.

The federal public health agency did not specify how much of the 5 billion would go to vaccines compared to other pharmaceuticals linked to COVID-19.

Conservatives have questions

Conservative health spokesperson Michelle Rempel Garner has said Health Minister Patty Hajdu will be called upon to explain the funding next week when she appears before the House of Commons health committee .

“I have a lot of questions,” warned Rempel Garner.

She believes that the secrecy surrounding contracts and costs is not acceptable, since it is impossible to know if what the Liberals are saying is true, she said.

The first 500,000 doses of vaccine from India arrived in Canada on Wednesday morning. Canada has also received over two million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and approximately 630,000 doses of Moderna.

No other vaccine has been approved, but Dr Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, expects Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to be cleared by mid-March.

Minister Anand said last week that she hoped to provide an updated figure on Canada’s vaccine spending soon.

“We continue to make sure we have the most accurate number possible before providing it to the Canadian public,” she said on February 26.

Prices in the United States and Europe

Some cost per dose information has been published or disclosed in the United States and Europe. The United States would pay, in Canadian dollars, $ 40 per dose to Moderna, $ 25 to Pfizer-BioNTech, $ 4 or $ 5 to AstraZeneca, $ 12 to Johnson & Johnson and $ 20 to Novavax.

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European prices, inadvertently disclosed by a Belgian politician on Twitter, are said to be, in Canadian dollars, $ 3 a dose for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, $ 13 for Johnson & Johnson, $ 18 for Pfizer and $ 27 for Moderna.

The United States and Europe have invested directly in the research and development of many of these vaccines, and it is unclear how much this affects their prices per dose. Mme Anand said Canada paid a “fair” price for all the vaccines it ordered.

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