On August 5, 2020 the Government of Canada announced their major plan in treating and preventing COVID-19 through vaccines and therapeutics. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation and Science and Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement relayed the several measures being taken by the Government of Canada to secure millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Government of Canada has created a vaccine task force to advise on international manufacturing contracts to secure doses for Canada and on how best to support vaccine research.
The Vaccine Task force includes immunology experts, as well as industry leaders that produce and manufacture vaccines. The main leaders of the Vaccine Task Force are Joanne Langley, Head of Infectious Diseases at the IWK, and J. Mark Lievonen, former President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited in Canada. As you can see, both co-chairs are high up in big pharma. Their main goal is to secure more COVID-19 vaccine contracts for Canada, and that’s exactly what they did. Due to their recommendations, Canada has entered into two agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of COVID-19 vaccines. Active negotiations with other vaccine suppliers are also underway. The government wants to establish guarantees with many pharmaceutical companies for vaccines so Canada has an unlimited supply. The glorious Task Force has also convinced the government to cough up $56 million to support more clinical trials for a COVID-related vaccine candidate, Variation Biotechnologies Inc. The $56 million is coming from the Government’s $600 million to support COVID-19 related vaccine and clinicals trials.
On top of the Vaccine Task Force, Minister Bains also announced the Therapeutics Task Force. Their objective is to provide expert advice to the Government on the development of new COVID-19 treatments, including on how to best prioritize financial support from promising COVID-19 projects. The Therapeutics Task Force is co-chaired by Nancy Harrison, Director of LifeSciences BC, and Cedric Bisson, Partner at Teralys Capital.
With all the investments and task forces being created to serve the same purpose, securing more vaccines, it’s scary to think what the government has in store for its citizens. As COVID-19 rates continue to decline, you’d think the government would put a pause on securing more vaccines.