Canada is well placed to approve the POVOch and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines soon – and then it could be delivered to the country very quickly, says BioNTech’s CEO.
“If I use the United Kingdom as an example, we received approval at 1:00 in the morning. We approved [the] the vaccine will be released and delivered within 24 hours, ”said Sean Marett, chief commercial and sales director of the German company BioNTech, which has teamed up with the American company Pfizer to develop one of the most promising candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine in the world.
“From the discussions we have had, Canada is certainly well placed to approve the vaccine soon,” Marett told Rosemary Barton, CBC’s chief political correspondent, on Sunday.
Pfizer / BioNTech – recently illuminated for emergency use in the UK – could receive approval from Health Canada as early as next week. Health regulators are currently reviewing three other vaccines manufactured by Moderna, AstraZeneca and Jannsen.
“After approval of the vaccine, we will then release it and then send it away. We have already produced the vaccine and reserved the doses for Canada,” Marett said at Rosemary Barton live.
The adoption of regulations is a key step before the finer details of the federal government’s plan to be set in motion.
“We are negotiating more precise delivery dates until approved by Health Canada,” Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand told VBC Kapelos at CBC earlier this week. “For this reason, we are implementing logistics systems to avoid wasting time between approval and subsequent distribution to the provinces and territories.”
Release of the “biological equivalent of landing on the moon”
Marett called the vaccine distribution plan “the biological equivalent of landing on the moon.”
“You have to have everything right, and of course it involves timing,” Marett said when asked about the exact delivery dates. “These things tend to … move [for] several days. But so far, we have seen from our experience with one country, the United Kingdom, that things are moving quite smoothly. “
On Friday, Anand announced an agreement with FedEx Express Canada to support the shipment of most vaccines across the country.
However, the Pfizer / BioNTech candidate will be supplied directly by the pharmaceutical company, as the product must be maintained at approximately -70 ° C to remain stable. Ottawa says it already has enough freezers to store up to 33.5 million vaccine units.
Marett said transportation and living at sub-zero temperatures is a process that has been “well mapped.”
“Together with Pfizer, we designed a storage box … into which the vaccine will arrive. You can use it as a -70 freezer. Open the box twice a day and take out the vaccine if you re-inoculate it for up to 15 days, ”he explained.
The distribution of dry rides in the provinces is expected on Monday
Canada has signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to pre-order 20 million doses of vaccine with the option to purchase another 56 million in the coming months. Pfizer says the shots are 95% effective based on the results of phase 3 clinical trials.
Marett said his company was “completely overwhelmed” by the findings, given that the vaccine had been developed within months, unlike years.
“Ninety-five percent of the efficiency, as you define it, you get [COVID-19] symptoms or not … in our opinion it is a surprising result, “he said.
Public health officials say that if all goes well, six million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are due to arrive in Canada in the first three months of 2021. Both vaccines must be given twice, meaning three million Canadians will be among the first. who gets hit.
WATCH | Canadian officials trying to distribute vaccines:
Genmjr. Dany Fortin, a former NATO commander who now leads the logistics and vaccine operations for the Canadian Public Health Agency, said on Friday that each province has now identified specific locations where the shots will be received.
Fortin said dry runs were to be conducted in each province on Monday to ensure that those involved in the implementation process were prepared to handle the “very unique requirements” of the ultra-cold vaccine.