Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has said that the federal government’s contracts with the key coronavirus vaccine suppliers like Pfizer and Moderna forbid those companies from selling in separate deals to the provinces.
In an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Pallister said that the recent comments made by Procurement Minister Anita Anand that the provinces are free to pursue their deals with coronavirus vaccine suppliers are incorrect.
Pointing to Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, Pallister said that his response to the situation is that the minister is completely wrong and that they can certainly provide them with ample evidence of the work in reaching out to the various companies that the federal government had signed up with.
He further added that they’ve confirmed not selling to them because that is a part of the deal they have made with the federal government and to him, that’s blocking.
Last month, Anand had faced questions after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney had said that the province would attempt to secure its deals with the key vaccine suppliers after the shipments to the provinces became irregular.
She further said in a press conference that the provinces are free to do so and that they as a federal government are in no way inhibiting or blocking them from doing so.
Pallister stated that he understands that the federal government may have wanted to be the sole procurement body for vaccines and that they can also make an argument for doing so.
But to suggest that the provinces are free to go and make their deals is misleading.
He said that they have tried Pfizer and have also tried Moderna, and that he could go down the list. AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and so on, are not allowed by their deal with the federal government to sell to the provinces, he added. Apart from Minister Anand’s incorrect statement they completely support the federal government’s efforts and that they are all cheering for the federal government to get these vaccines.
Pallister further added that the fluctuating vaccine shipments and a ramp-up in nationalistic attitudes by the countries with domestic vaccine manufacturers are supposedly the main reason why he is now pursuing a deal with a Canadian company to supply vaccines to the province of Manitoba.
He said that the goal is for the provinces to be able to secure their insurance policies for a longer-term supply of vaccines in case the federal government’s deals with the other foreign manufacturers hit bumps.
Last week, Pallister committed to buying two million doses of the made-in Canada m-RNA corona virus vaccine in development by the Calgary-based Providence Therapeutics.
Reportedly the firm is the first with a Canadian corona virus vaccine to reach human clinical trials.
During the late last month, it said in a press release that it is expected to begin delivering the vaccines if approved by Health Canada, in late 2021 or early 2022.