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Canada in talks with coronavirus vaccine makers ‘every day’ as approvals near: Anand

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Minister says contracts in place for syringes, gauze for distribution' Coronavirus: Minister says contracts in place for syringes, gauze for distribution
WATCH: Minister says contracts in place for syringes, gauze for distribution – Nov 24, 2020

Canada is in talks “every day” with various coronavirus vaccine suppliers in order to negotiate earlier delivery dates, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a media conference, Anand said Canada is very well positioned in terms of its vaccine procurement, adding that although she does not have input in the regulatory approval process, she’s still making sure deliveries take place “as soon as possible.”

READ MORE: New records detail Ottawa’s ‘bold aggressive’ strategy to buy vaccines and PPE

“The delivery window is within the first quarter of 2021 …  I am negotiating with our vaccine suppliers every day for earlier delivery dates. So when the Health Canada approval comes we will kick into the delivery process ASAP.”

Currently, Health Canada is reviewing approval for four coronavirus vaccines.

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On Monday, pharmaceutical company Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson,  became the latest company to look for vaccine approval in Canada and submitted its candidate to Health Canada. This vaccine candidate only requires one dose.

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In August, the feds announced it had signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson to secure up to 38 million doses of its vaccine.

Health Canada is also reviewing coronavirus vaccine candidates from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, who have all sent data to the regulator on a “rolling review” process. This allows companies to submit data from clinical trials even when they are still underway.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Minister says Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines undergoing review process' Coronavirus: Minister says Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines undergoing review process
Coronavirus: Minister says Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines undergoing review process – Nov 24, 2020

“This process is proceeding well and we should remember that Health Canada as a regulator is the gold standard of regulators among the world and will ensure the vaccine is safe and effective before we roll it out to Canadians,” Anand added.

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In terms of vaccine distribution, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu at the media conference reiterated that vulnerable populations in Canada will be the first to be inoculated

“At the end of the day, it is the provinces who deliver healthcare and the provinces who will decide on the priority populations,” she said. “Of course, we are working closely to make sure we have coordination across the country and that we agree on the principals, which in fact we have, we have a shared set of principals now.”