Some of the biggest coronavirus vaccine manufacturers have said that they are not selling shits to the provincial governments because they only want to deal with one contract per country at a time.
The news comes in as premiers in Alberta and Manitoba join arms in calling for a Plan B interprovincial task force to secure their vaccine supplies after having delays in deliveries to the federal government, and also due to the lack of clarity from the federal government around the terms of those crucial contracts.
Christina Antoniou, the director of corporate affairs for Pfizer has said that during the pandemic, they have been committed to bringing this vaccine to help meet the public health need and only plan to sell the vaccine to the Government of Canada.
He further added that the federal government’s National Operations Centre is held responsible for distributing the vaccine to each of the provinces and that they are working closely with them to support their efforts.
Antoniou added that to the pandemic situation worldwide, Pfizer has decided to have one agreement per country. The basic idea was to limit the number of contractual agreements during the pandemic scenario and as such, they now have one contract for Canada.
When sources approached Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, Pallister said that the federal government’s contracts with those major vaccine suppliers forbid those companies from selling vaccines to the provinces in separate deals.
He said that they have reportedly told them that they are not going to sell them because that’s part of the deal which they have made with the federal government and to him, that’s blocking.
The Manitoba government officials have reportedly provided records of their outreach to the four vaccine suppliers, which state that the companies rebuffing the requests from the provincial officials to negotiate the contracts.
However, none of the contracts mention that the vaccine companies are prohibited from entering into separate contracts with the provinces because of their federal contracts.
An email forwarded by Moderna stated that the company isn’t interested in separate deals. An official stated that Moderna’s position on this remains the same. Moreover, they are currently fully committed to the government of Canada to bring in as many doses possible to Canada in 2021.
Another email that came in from an official at AstraZeneca Canada’s Mississauga location reported a similar response and noted that their vaccine candidate remains under surveillance. The official added that their commitment is to fulfill the supply being requested by the Federal Government post the approval of the Health Canada regulatory.
So far, the federal government has not released the details of any of its contracts with the major vaccine suppliers. Procurement Minister Anita Anand has stated that the government is restricted by the confidentiality clauses in those contracts and has been trying to get the vaccine supplies to loosen those terms.
But, so far he said that those efforts have been unsuccessful.