The province says the first 200,000 doses of a Canadian company's COVID-19 vaccine, when they are approved, could arrive in the fall.

Tired of waiting for vaccines, Premier Brian Pallister is announcing the province is purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, making Manitoba the first province to do so. The federal government has previously been in control of vaccine distribution, but today's announcement changes that. 

“The number one limiting factor in administering life-saving immunizations to Canadians is the lack of a secure domestic vaccine supply made here in Canada,” Pallister says. “Today, we are reliant on the federal government buying vaccines from pharmaceutical companies located offshore. The result has been Canadians receiving needed COVID-19 vaccines slower than almost 50 other countries, with weekly disruptions in supply.”

Providence Therapeutics, an Alberta-based company developing personalized mRNA-based cancer vaccines, is working on an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna ones.

Clinical trials are underway, and if successfully approved by Health Canada, the vaccine would be produced by Emergent BioSolutions in Winnipeg. As early as the fall, Manitoba will be receiving Providence Therapeutics' first 200,000 doses.

The Premier says this move will be important for Canada, not just Manitoba.

“Manitobans are Canadians first. We are investing not just for ourselves, but for all Canadians,” Pallister says. “Building a secure, made-in-Canada vaccine supply will put Canadians at the head of the line to get a COVID vaccine, where we belong.”

If successful, Manitoba will purchase 2 million doses of the vaccine. The province says there is a "best-price guarantee" ensuring they will pay less for the doses than any other government.