OTTAWA – A day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians will receive vaccine protection from COVID-19 after other industrialized nations, the NDP’s health critic says the Prime Minister needs to explain what happened to earlier promises that large amounts of COVID-19 vaccine would soon be produced in Canada.
In August, the Prime Minister announced new financial support to get the National Research Council’s Montreal facility to the point at which it could manufacturing 250,000 vaccine doses per month by November and two million doses per month by the end of this year.
The Prime Minister made no mention of the National Research Council’s capability in his comments yesterday.
The National Research Council’s Montreal facility is equipped to produce the type of vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca, one of the three groups in late-stage vaccine trials
AstraZeneca, a non-profit manufacturer based in the UK’s Oxford University, is working on a vaccine that can be stored at between two to eight degrees Celsius, rather than the colder storage temperature required by Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. AstraZeneca also says its vaccine will also be cheaper to produce than those of Pfizer and Moderna.
Britain has ordered 100 million doses of AstraZeneca. Australia, Japan, Mexico, Argentina and Russia have also signed a licensing deal to manufacture the vaccine at facilities in their countries.
NDP health critic Don Davies says he wants to know why the Trudeau government hasn’t signed any deal for domestic production with AstroZeneca and what happened to the NCR’s production capacity.