CCHE Seminar Series: Commentary – How should Canada acquire vaccines for the next pandemic?

Commentary: How should Canada acquire vaccines for the next pandemic?

Javad Moradpour
University of Toronto

Friday February 4, 2022, 10am-12pm, Zoom

Abstract: We learned from the vaccination campaign against Covid 19 that Canada needs priority access to vaccines for the next viral pandemic. One option is to purchase finished dosage of vaccines on the world market. However, there is a risk of encountering supply disruptions caused by either manufacturing problems in foreign plants, or so-called “vaccine nationalism”. Given the risk of future supply disruptions, it seems prudent to expand Canada’s domestic vaccine capacity. To this end, various academics, politicians, and other commentators have proposed that Canada create a public agency devoted to pandemic vaccine development and production.

We agree that the federal government should help to increase Canada’s domestic vaccine capacity. However, our view is that relying on a new public agency to develop and produce vaccines for the next pandemic is ill-advised. We argue that Canada can achieve a more reliable supply of vaccines for future pandemics, and at lower cost, by contracting with existing commercial producers that are already engaged in continuous and full-scale production and who thus have demonstrated technical competency and have secure input supply chains.

Javad is currently a postdoctoral fellow under supervision of Paul Grootendorst at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at University of Toronto. He originally trained as physicist, and recently completed his PhD in economics at the University of Calgary.

For his postdoc, Javad is working on studies related to the vaccine market. These include an analysis of R&D incentives embedded in the vaccine procurement programs of the major industrialized countries. He is collaborating with Dr Ayman Chit, who is Sanofi’s Head of Medical for the international region and several of Dr Chit’s international colleagues on this study. He is also researching on the public investments needed to increase Canada’s capacity to manufacture pandemic vaccines. Javad is investigating Canada’s current policy approaches and developing strategies to improve collaboration between the government and the private sector.