Canada secures deals for millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses

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Canada announced deals on Monday with US companies Novavax and Johnson & Johnson for millions doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

The agreements bring the maximum vaccine doses that could be made available to Canadians to 190 million, after similar arrangements were made with Pfizer and Moderna.

The population of Canada is just under 38 million.

"We've looked to sign agreements with many different companies because we really don't know who will be first to develop a vaccine, and where it will come from," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference in Montreal.

"We need to be able to immunize as many Canadians as possible."

Novavax's NVX-CoV2373 , which is in Phase 2 , could be delivered in the of 2021, Ottawa and the company said in a joint statement. The agreement is for up to 76 million doses.

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to supply up to 38 million doses of its vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S, said another statement.

Pfizer and Moderna previously agreed to deliver, respectively, a minimum of 20 million doses and up to 50 million doses of their vaccines, now in final Phase 3 trials and among the most advanced in development.

The Novavax deal comes as the US government granted the Maryland-based firm US$1.6 billion to help fund development and manufacture of the vaccine, giving the US priority for the first 100 million doses.

Early tests showed its candidate was "generally well-tolerated" and elicited a "robust antibody response," Novavax said.

"We are moving forward with clinical development of NVX-CoV2373 with a strong sense of urgency in our quest to deliver a to protect the world," said company president Stanley Erck.

As of Monday, Canada reported nearly 128,000 cases of COVID-19 and some 9,150 deaths.

© 2020 AFP

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