We are updating the vaccine to target Omicron: President of Moderna Canada
Moderna Inc. announced Monday that it will supply the Canadian government with 12 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine booster that has been specifically adapted to target the Omicron variant.
The biotechnology company said in a press release that the Canadian government exercised an option to purchase 4.5 million doses of the updated vaccine. The delivery of 1.5 million additional doses will also being accelerated from 2023 to 2022.
The updated vaccine will offer broader protection and last longer than previous versions, according to Patricia Gauthier, the president and general manager, of Moderna Canada.
However, the agreement is subject to Health Canada’s approval of the vaccine candidate.
Gauthier said the company is working with the regulator on getting the green light.
“I can’t speculate on a timeline. What I can say is that Health Canada is working really, really hard, very diligently, in constant conversations with our team to ask questions (and) get answers to their questions. So we've seen continuously strong collaboration with Health Canada,” she said in a broadcast interview Monday.
The federal government and Moderna will convert six million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccines into the Omicron-targeted version. Doses are expected to be delivered in 2022, following Heath Canada approval.
While demand for vaccines has faded recently, Gauthier said governments are now looking to bolster supplies.
“I think the demand has shifted, but it fluctuates as well. What we saw back in maybe Q2 was that the demand was significantly decreasing. Now we’re seeing a need to prepare for the fall,” she said.
It is expected that bivalent vaccines will be available to Canadians in the fall pending Health Canada’s regulatory decision, Anna Maddison, a senior media relations advisor for Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, said in an email Monday.
“The exact timing of availability will depend on a number of factors, including the timing of Health Canada’s regulatory decisions, the availability of supply from the manufacturers and when they are distributed and administered by local health authorities in Canada,” Maddison said.