The federal government says it’s spending $214 million to support “made in Canada” coronavirus vaccine research.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that $173 million would go to Quebec-based Medicago, while Vancouver’s Precision NanoSystems would receive $18.2 million for development and testing.
“This is about securing potential vaccines for Canadians while supporting good jobs in research,” he told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa.
The deal with Medicago includes up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate, as well as funds to set up a production facility in Quebec City.
A further $23 million will go toward the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program.
To date, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion to secure doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus. Deals have been struck with half a dozen pharmaceutical giants, and Canada is also part of an international vaccine alliance through COVAX.
“Canada has an excellent portfolio of vaccine potential, but we also know, nobody’s got that vaccine yet,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said the “reasonable expectation” is that vaccines could arrive sometime in the new year, but initially there will be smaller amounts available and the shots would be going to priority groups first.
“I think of our most vulnerable or our frontline workers, and we have experts busy evaluating exactly how and where and in which way to distribute these vaccines,” he said, adding that Ottawa would be working with the provinces and territories on the distribution.