On Monday, Moderna said it will provide 12 million doses of a COVID-19 dose that has been adapted to target the novel coronavirus Omicron to Canada.
Company officials said the federal government struck a deal with the company last year to supply the COVID-19 vaccine for 2022 and 2023, while allowing access to new vaccine modifications.
Moderna and the Canadian government have agreed to convert six million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the original virus, into a bivalent vaccine containing Omicron.
Canada will also purchase an additional 4.5 million doses of the Omicron-containing filter, and is moving forward with scheduled delivery of 1.5 million doses of the bivalent candidate vaccine from 2023 to 2022.
Health Canada is reviewing vaccine delivery processes
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Friday that Health Canada staff are working “very quickly” to review the bivalent vaccine deliveries from both Moderna and Pfizer-Bioantek.
“We also have a safe and adequate supply of the bivalent formula if the regulatory authorities continue to allow vaccines,” she said.
While current COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against hospitalization and death, vaccine efficacy has been compromised as the virus has evolved.
Moderna said in June that trial data showed that when given as a fourth dose, the conditioned shot raised virus neutralizing antibodies eightfold against Omicron.
Tam said that based on information provided by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, the bivalent vaccines will protect against the original strain and the BA.1 strain.
Last week, British drug regulators were the first to approve an updated version of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine in the world.