Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Public Health Agency of Canada budgets $5B for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments

The price Canada is paying for vaccines has been shrouded in mystery, as contracts are confidential

The Public Health Agency of Canada expects to spend up to $5 billion on vaccines and other COVID-19 treatments.

Federal budget documents show $5.3 billion was approved in December for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, including the purchase of doses, and research and development.

Last month, $5 billion of that was shifted from the current fiscal year into 2021-22.

The Public Health Agency of Canada told The Canadian Press this is to “ensure continuity of funding to match the timing for payments as vaccines are delivered.”

“As a very significant portion of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries and expenditures will take place in 2021-22, this reprofile is intended to transfer a portion of the Medical Research and Vaccine Development funding in the fiscal year in which its related expenditures will take place,” said the statement sent by a spokesman at the agency.

Only 6.5 million of the more than 240 million COVID-19 vaccine doses Canada is guaranteed to buy will be delivered before the end of March.

The price Canada is paying for vaccines has been shrouded in mystery, as contracts with suppliers are covered by confidentiality clauses that prohibit the federal government from saying how much it is spending on every dose.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in September that Canada had allocated $1 billion for vaccines after signing deals with five companies for 154 million guaranteed doses, as well as options to add another 108 million after more was known about how the vaccines worked.

Another $220 million was allocated to buy up to 15 million doses from COVAX, the international vaccine-sharing program.

Soon after Canada added 20 million doses from Oxford-AstraZeneca and another 20 million from Medicago, which is the sole Canadian company in the mix. Neither were included in the original $1 billion.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Canada has also since doubled its order from Pfizer-BioNTech to 40 million doses, bumped its Moderna order from 20 million doses to 44 million, and purchased another two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India.

The first 500,000 of those doses from India arrived in Canada Wednesday morning. Canada has also received more than two million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and about 630,000 doses from Moderna.

No other vaccines have been approved, though Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said she anticipates Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine will be authorized by the middle of March.

Anand said last week she hoped to provide an updated figure soon on how much Canada is spending on vaccines.

“We are continuing to make sure that we have the most accurate number possible before providing that to the Canadian public,” she said Feb. 26.

The federal public health agency has not said specifically how much of the $5 billion is going to vaccines versus other COVID-19 medications.

Some information on the cost per dose has been released or leaked in both the United States and Europe. The U.S. is believed to be paying, adjusted to Canadian dollars, $40 a dose for Moderna, $25 for Pfizer-BioNTech, $4 or $5 for Oxford-AstraZeneca, $12 for Johnson and Johnson and $20 for Novavax.

Europe’s prices, inadvertently leaked by a Belgian politician on Twitter, included, in Canadian dollars, $3 for Oxford-AstraZeneca, $13 for Johnson and Johnson, $18 for Pfizer, and $27 for Moderna.

Both the United States and Europe invested directly in the research and development of many of those vaccines, and it’s not clear how much that may affect their price per dose. Anand said Canada paid a “fair-market” price for all the vaccines it ordered.

READ MORE: Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Twin falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is one of the mountain parks whose draft management plan is now available for review. (Claire Palmer photo)
Local input sought to shape future of mountain national parks

Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks are amongst those seeking input

The last 400 bear-proof garbage bins will be rolled out this spring. Keri Sculland/Star Photo
The bear-proof garbage bins are a must to keep bears out of town. Keri Sculland/Star Photo
Bear bins required as weather warms

The Town is reminding people to make use of their bear bins now that the bears are back in town

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

A Keremeos family lost their home after a fire shortly before midnight on April 13. No injuries were reported. (Contributed)
Keremeos home destroyed in late-night fire

The family inside was unharmed

Naloxone
Op/Ed: Interior Health CEO speaks on five years of strides and challenges in overdose crisis

In 2020, close to 4,000 people across IH had access to opioid medications

Somewhere in the pack being celebrated by his teammates is Vernon Vipers forward Zack Tonelli, who scored in overtime Wednesday afternoon, April 14, to give the Snakes a 6-5 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in B.C. Hockey League pod play at Kal Tire Place. (Liza Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers bite Salmon Arm Silverbacks in OT

Snakes blow 5-3 third-period lead, rally in extra time for 6-5 pod play result over rivals

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

New parking meters have been installed on Main Street, Ellis Street, Front Street, Nanaimo Avenue and Padmore Avenue in Penticton. (City of Penticton photo)
Pay parking now in effect in downtown Penticton

A spot downtown will now cost you $2 per hour

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Most Read