Canada assured vaccine exports from EU won't be blocked
OTTAWA -- After concerns raised earlier this week, the federal government says it has received assurances from the European Union that Canada’s coming vaccine shipments will not be held back, despite the EU’s new export controls.
Both Procurement Minister Anita Anand and Export Promotion and International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Friday that they’ve received confirmation that the doses Canada is due, will be delivered.
According to a statement issued by Ng’s office, she spoke this week with the European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis and was told the EU’s latest vaccine restrictions “are not meant to target Canada.”
As a spokesperson for the European Commission stated earlier this week, the new export controls are aimed at making sure Europe has it’s “due share” of vaccines.
Vaccine exports from the EU to Canada—which currently include shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the two major providers—are subject to authorization requests and the European Commission.
Anand said Friday that the export permits have been secured for next week’s shipments, and Pfizer has already received the necessary approvals for the shipments taking place the following week.
While the next shipment of Moderna doses is being delayed by a few days, after speaking with company officials, Aanand told reporters that she’s been reassured that it is due to a quality assurance backlog and not as a result of the move to keep more doses within Europe.
Canada is entirely reliant on COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by international pharmaceutical companies as there isn’t adequate domestic production capacity in this country currently.
Asked what Canada is doing to shore-up future shipments that still remain uncertain, Anand said as the Canadian government has done with AstraZeneca, they are looking to “diversify” the locations from which these vaccine shipments are coming from, “to make sure that we are going to continually receive vaccines into Canada from approved suppliers.”
“Given the profound period of global demand for vaccine, there will continue to be bumps along the way… As we have seen these bumps are temporary, and have not knocked us off course,” said the procurement minister, noting that Canada's shipments of vaccines over the course of the next three weeks are expected to match the total number of doses received over the course of the past three months combined.
“That is six million more doses coming to Canada, between now and April 18,” Anand said.