Moderna will supply 12 million doses of its COVID-19 shot adapted to target the Omicron variant of the coronavirus to Canada, the company said on Monday.
The federal government had entered into a deal with the company last year for supply of its COVID-19 vaccine for 2022 and 2023, with the contract allowing access to new vaccine adaptations, company officials said.
Moderna and the Canadian government have agreed to convert six million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the original virus, to an Omicron-containing bivalent vaccine.
Canada will also purchase an additional 4.5 million doses of the Omicron-containing candidate, and is moving forward the scheduled delivery of 1.5 million doses of the bivalent vaccine candidate from 2023 to 2022.
Health Canada reviewing vaccine submissions
Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday that Health Canada staff is working “very fast” to review bivalent vaccine submissions from both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
“We also have secure, sufficient supply of the bivalent formulation should the regulatory authorities go on to authorize the vaccines,” she said.
While existing COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against hospitalization and death, vaccine effectiveness has taken a hit as the virus has evolved.
Moderna in June said trial data showed that when given as a fourth dose, the variant-adapted shot raised virus-neutralizing antibodies by eight-fold against Omicron.
Tam said based on the information submitted by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, the bivalent vaccines would protect against the original strain and the BA.1 strain.
Last week, British drug regulators were the first in the world to authorize an updated version of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine.