Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will buy another 40 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine over the next two years.
Trudeau tweeted about the agreement with the Massachusetts-based drugmaker, saying the deal could be extended into 2024.
He said there are also options included in the deal that would grant Ottawa access to as many as 65 million doses if needed.
Earlier in the week, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government that will see Canada host Moderna’s first foreign operation.
It’s not yet clear how much money the government has offered to Moderna for the project.
Canada already has enough vaccines to fully inoculate all those currently eligible, but uptake on the shots has slowed in recent weeks.
Large reserve of vaccine doses
Ottawa is urging everyone to get vaccinated, as the country’s top doctor says the fourth wave of the pandemic has begun.
The new wave is being driven by the much more infectious delta variant, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the vast majority of new cases are among unvaccinated segments of the population.
“Nationally, there are now over 13,000 active cases — more than double from two weeks ago,” she said.
Data on vaccine deliveries, distribution and injections provided by Health Canada and the provinces shows that almost 22 million doses have been delivered to Canada but not yet used.
That includes a national “reserve” of nearly 10 million doses, and more than 11.7 million doses delivered to provincial and territorial governments that have yet to be administered.
Almost 23.6 million Canadians are now fully vaccinated, or 71.3 per cent of all people 12 years and older.