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Canada and Europe seek to increase vaccine access after troubled launch

Ottawa—When Canada’s Most Populous Province incarcerated in January among those infected with COVID-19 rising The supply of vaccines in it is declining. Two hours’ drive in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Pfizer’s factory. Inc.

It is producing approximately 4 million doses of vaccine per week. which Canada cannot access.

While the pandemic earlier this year Canada is one of many wealthy countries waiting to deliver vaccines. As their number of patients increased United States and United Kingdom which has the ability to produce vaccines in the country and reach agreements with vaccine developers early Get vaccinated more quickly

Now, countries that lack productivity or fail to mobilize quickly. Actions are being taken to ensure that they are not in a similar situation again.

Canada’s Liberal Government has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to expand and build vaccine factories in the country. and plans to allocate more than 2 billion Canadian dollars, or $1.66 billion. over the next seven years to attract new investments. Life Sciences Canadian officials have also signed an agreement with Novavax. Inc.,

Small companies in the US to start producing a vaccine against COVID-19 at a government factory in Montreal later this year. They are reviewing applications for vaccine applicants by Medicago Inc., based in Quebec City. This could see the filling and completion process for COVID-19 vaccination candidates. The company’s own factory in Canada.

“This will help both of us in the mid-term fight against Covid-19 and ensure better preparedness for the pandemic. [for] Whatever happens next,” Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a funding announcement this month.

Europe has the capacity to produce enough vaccines to enter the pandemic. But it also lags behind the US and UK in securing purchasing agreements and increasing production. Europe is also experiencing delays at some factories and has limited infrastructure for administering drugs early in the vaccination campaign. those produced in Europe have already been exported.

Officials visited a vaccine factory in Reinbek, Germany, in April.


Christian Charisius / Reuters

Some EU member states, such as Germany and the European Investment Bank, are backed by the European Union. It has entered into financial agreements with pharmaceutical companies over the past year. to support the development and production of vaccines In recent months, the European Medicines Agency has approved several new or expanded vaccine manufacturing sites, including in Spain, Germany and Switzerland.

Emer Cooke, the agency’s executive director, said: “We have to do everything we can to ensure we have enough capacity to increase … vaccine production,” the agency’s executive director, Emer Cooke, told lawmakers in March.

Canada, which has limited domestic vaccine production Last year, seven agreements were signed with vaccine makers for more per capita doses than Canadians needed. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said this will put the country at the forefront in the race to vaccinate against COVID-19. to the population

But soon Canada found “Buying a vaccine is not the same as having a vaccine,” said Andrea Taylor, assistant program director at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center, who oversees vaccine purchasing.

After the delay from growing plants abroad Canada lags behind the United States and the United Kingdom in vaccination. which has some serious consequences

The delay in vaccination made it too late for the country to face an unstable third wave of infections. which has been fueled by germs that are believed to be more contagious. Some health experts say the consequences The country is likely to have higher overall deaths than earlier vaccine launches.

This results in longer lockdowns. while the United States and the United Kingdom eased restrictions. Regional authorities across Canada rolled out new measures this spring. Forcing retail stores, restaurants, schools and gyms to close their doors.

India halts vaccine distribution to other countries as the country grapples with the world’s fastest growing Covid-19 outbreak. Distribution delays are disrupting global vaccination efforts. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

Canada continues to lag significantly behind the United States and the United Kingdom in the total amount of vaccine dispensed per person. in those countries Experts say there is close cooperation between the public and private sectors compared to Canada. as well as the history of investment in drug and vaccine development. This helps them secure early access to medicines. The US government is also spending billions through Operation Warp Speed, a program that accelerates vaccine acquisition and development.

“We have always been held by outside forces for the security of national health. And this has haunted us during this pandemic,” said Jillian Kohler, a professor at the University of Toronto. said UNICEF and World Bank policy adviser on pharmaceuticals.

One of the initial bets that Canadian officials will vaccinate against COVID-19. is with a company in China Although Ottawa and Beijing have had a diplomatic tussle over the arrest and detention, Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Inc. Canada and CanSino Biologics. Inc.

The agreement was signed in May 2020, government documents stated. but later collapsed

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Canadian Purchasing Minister Anita Anand said officials were still trying to convince major drugmakers to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, but she said vaccine makers found bio-production capacity in Canada was limited. and rejected government proposals

The vaccine, produced by Pfizer in conjunction with BioNTech SE, eventually became a key part of the Canadian launch. Alongside development by Moderna Inc.

and AstraZeneca Plc.

Europe’s vaccination campaign has also increased in recent weeks. This is aided by more deliveries and relaxed eligibility rules.

Dr Alan Bernstein, chairman of the scientific research organization CIFAR and a member of the Vaccine Working Group established last year by the Canadian government, said it was important for Canada to build vaccine capacity. even if it takes time

“We have to assume there will be another pandemic,” Dr Bernstein said. “We cannot be caught again without production capacity in our own country.”

write to Kim Mackrael at kim.mackrael@wsj.com and Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com.

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