CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I am delighted to be here, at the National Research Council, with Minister Bains and my fellow members of Parliament from Montréal, Minister Joly, Rachel Bendayan and our local member, Anthony Housefather.
The President of the National Research Council, Iain Stewart, is also with us today.
From the start, our government’s fight against COVID-19 has been guided by science.
We have therefore invested over $1 billion in a COVID-19 strategy that allows for increased screening, and supports vaccine research and clinical trials.
In order to protect Canadians, we must follow the advice of public health experts and support scientific research.
This means we also need to support our researchers as they develop an effective vaccine.
Earlier this month, Minister Bains and Minister Anand announced the names of the members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
This group includes vaccine and immunology specialists, as well as industry leaders.
And, based on their advice, we have signed agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to reserve millions of doses of a future COVID-19 vaccine.
Today, I can announce that the Government of Canada has signed two new agreements with Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson to reserve millions of doses of the vaccines they’re developing.
Their most recent vaccine tests show promising results.
That’s why we’re making sure that if one of these potential vaccines is successful, Canada and Canadians will have access to the doses they need.
Taken together, our vaccine agreements with Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson, will give Canada at least 88 million doses, with options to obtain tens of millions more.
I know that Minister Anand and Minister Hajdu will have more details to share at the noon briefing today.
In the weeks and months ahead, our government will continue to take the steps needed to make sure Canada gets a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Once a vaccine is proven to work, we’ll also need to be able to produce and distribute it here at home.
On that front, I can also announce that we’re investing over $126 million to expand the bio-manufacturing facility right here at the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre in Montréal.
This funding will increase this facility’s ability to manufacture vaccines, and will strengthen the NRC’s partnerships with vaccine developers.
We expect the facility to be up and running by mid-2021.
I want to end by recognizing that tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s “Marathon of Hope.”
Terry’s courage and persistence made him a true Canadian hero, and gave hope to people around the world.
As we honour his legacy, let’s continue to support the people and families affected by cancer, and keep working together to find a cure.