Photo: Sakchai Lalit Associated Press
There are nearly two dozen vaccines during clinical trials in the world and at least 140 others in the early stages of development.
The federal government controls more than 75 million syringes, alcohol swabs and bandages to be ready to inoculate the Canadians as soon as a vaccine against the COVID-19 will be ready.
The minister of public Services and the Supply of Anita Anand has indicated that the government intends to store enough equipment to be able to administer at least two doses to every Canadian when a vaccine is available.
There are nearly two dozen vaccines during clinical trials in the world and at least 140 others in the early stages of development, but most experts predict that it will have to wait until 2021 for a vaccine to be ready for extensive use.
The first tests of vaccine on humans in Canada began on July 13. The biopharmaceutical company in quebec Medicago administers two doses of the vaccine to 180 men and women, in the hope to see the first evidence of its effectiveness in October.
However, Ms. Anand said that Canada wants to be ready and ordered 75.2 million syringes, alcohol swabs, bandages and gauze swabs, and 250 000 containers to waste to get them by the end of October.
The contracts for the syringes are already in place, but the tenders for the other supplies have been launched in the past week. Proposals will be accepted until the end of July.
The federal government also intends to revise its program of purchases of medical supplies worth several billion dollars by adopting a more long-term planning rather to proceed in a situation of panic.
He looks for a private company that would take care of each and every month of the logistics of ordering, receiving, storage and distribution of millions of face masks, respirators, protective clothing, surgical and other personal protective equipment.
A call for tender for a provider of logistics services was launched on 16 July. The government is looking for a company that could provide one or several warehouses at a controlled temperature within a radius of 200 km around the Pearson airport in Toronto and Hamilton airport. He also wants a warehouse near Montreal and another in Alberta or British Columbia. The successful bidder must be able to manage on a monthly basis of 27 000 pallets of supplies, at least 220 shipping containers and 400 crates of packages.
Purchase for fast-paced medical supplies from the COVID-19 on the world markets is the main concern of public Services and Supply Canada for several months.
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The markets for medical supplies have already been compared to the “Wild West” by the deputy prime minister asked by chrystia Freeland.
The intensity of this process is slightly relaxed, recognizes Mrs. Anand, but not enough to ensure that Canada is prepared to disclose its international suppliers.
“We need to ensure we don’t jeopardize our supply chains,” she says. There is always a global demand intense for a particular item of personal protective equipment. It would not be prudent for us to reveal the names of the suppliers, as the competition is always very intense for this for this product. “
Canada has ordered millions of face masks, overalls, gloves and other supplies to be delivered in 2021. It has received up to now 99 shipments of supplies.
The country did not need as much of certain products as planned. Thus, more than 40 000 respirators have been ordered, but the demand has been lower than expected. The 367 already received and the other in the process of being delivered will be stored by Ottawa in case they are needed in the course of the next waves of the pandemic.
According to the agreement, 80 % of the supplies purchased by the federal government will be sent to the provinces when they need it. The remaining 20% will be paid to the “strategic national stockpile of emergency’, which is itself divided in several warehouses throughout the country. The Canadian stores of everything : medical supplies, hospital beds, temporary, medicine for a variety of infectious diseases.
The federal government also wants to increase the storage space, as it plans to increase its stock. Canada ran out of some products last winter when it was needed the most.
The deputy chief of the public health of the country, Dr. Howard Njoo, acknowledged Friday that “hard lessons” had been learned from the dependence of Canada in respect of international sources for its supply.
He has told that it has always believed that the national reserves and supplies enjoyed by the provinces would be sufficient for a immediate emergency, and that everything which the country needed could be ordered. This assumption proved to be erroneous when the governments around the world have all had need of the same things at the same time.
Before the COVID-19, Canada had little means to produce here what he needed.
“We have also learned that we can’t necessarily depend only on global supply chains. We need to be more self-reliant, ” said Dr. Njoo. I definitely feel better about our situation, where we are now compared to January and February. “
Approximately 40 % of the supplies is needed in Canada are manufactured in the country, including swabs and N95 masks.
Ms. Anand mentioned that one of the main lessons learned from the pandemic is the need to ensure that supplies are distributed before their expiration. Last year, two million N95 masks stored in a warehouse in Regina had to be discarded because they were outdated.
The minister said that the government seeks to coordinate the supply of national and provincial needs with the maintenance of a reserve. The same principle will be extended to other supplies, such as equipment for the vaccines.
“Don’t worry if these syringes are not used for the vaccine, they can be used in other circumstances, for example to administer the flu vaccine. “