Canada improves readiness for COVID-19 with purchase orders, freezer agreements
Canada has deals in place to purchase more than 100 new freezers to help store incoming COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., according to the country's procurement ministry.
A spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada told BNN Bloomberg in an email that it has awarded two contracts to purchase freezers from Panasonic and Thermal Scientific ahead of obtaining specialized COVID-19 vaccines that need to be kept well below freezing before being injected.
The ministry, which is in charge of securing supplies to ensure every Canadian can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as well as awarding contracts to companies tasked with handling distribution, said it purchased 26 freezers capable of storing items at -80 degrees Celsius and 100 freezers at -20 degrees Celsius.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, which is being co-developed with BioNTech and has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, needs to be kept at approximately -80 degrees Celsius to maintain its efficacy and will be shipped using a customized storage box filled with dry ice and various sensors. The Moderna vaccines will need to be similarly transported but can be maintained at -20 degrees Celsius.
Canada has an advance-purchase agreement for 20 million doses each of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It also has options to purchase an additional 56 million and 36 million of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively. In total, Canada has secured orders for 350 million COVID-19 vaccines across seven manufacturers.
The spokesperson added that combined with existing federal capacity, Canada has secured enough freezer storage for approximately 33.5 million vaccines.
Based on advanced trials, Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines have been shown to be extremely effective in immunizing people from COVID-19, with efficacy rates around 95 per cent with no serious safety concerns.
In addition to securing additional freezer capacity, Public Services and Procurement Canada awarded pre-qualified bidder status to Federal Express Canada Corp., Kuehn + Nagel Ltd., McKesson Canada Corp. and UPS Healthcare aimed at providing the country with "an end-to-end logistics solution for vaccines, including requirements for ultra-cold and cold chain management." The status will allow those companies to participate in future procurement contracts, the spokesperson said.