moderna canada

Canada will soon have its own plant manufacturing Moderna mRNA vaccines

It's hard to deny that Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout — and Canada's in general — was embarrasingly slow when it began, with the U.S. still far outpacing us as far as inoculation numbers well into 2021.

One key advantage that our neighbours to the south have had in matter is the fact that Pfizer and Moderna, two of the pharmaceutical companies behind the Health Canada-approved and widely used mRNA vaccines, have major factories on American soil, meaning no waiting on delayed shipments (like Canadians had to countless times).

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, much like he did in the case of N95 masks in spring 2020, has advocated that Canada start producing vaccines for the obvious sake of quicker, easier distribution.

And though we've ramped things up to the point where more than 81 per cent of Canadians 12 and over have now received at least one COVID jab and just shy of 70 per cent are fully vaxxed, it seems that we will indeed be getting our own plant to manufacture the Moderna's mRNA vaccines, for COVID as well as for other viruses.

The news was confirmed on Tuesday, when the federal government announced that a "state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine production facility" from the U.S. company was slated for somewhere in the country.

"A decades-long decline in the sector left Canada without the large-scale and flexible biomanufacturing capacity necessary to quickly produce a COVID-19 vaccine when the pandemic hit," a release from Ottawa notes.

"This move will help strengthen the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector’s entire value chain — from research and development, to talent acquisition and retention, to increased clinical trial capacity — and make Canada’s overall industrial capability stronger."

Though Canada's vaccination numbers are now high enough that the country is no longer in desperate need of COVID-19 immunizations, it has generally been acccepted that at least one booster shot against the virus will likely be recommended in the future.

There are also all of the jobs that the site will create in both its construction and operations phases, as well as the advantage of having further research, development and production of this and other mRNA vaccines taking place in Canada moving forward.

This also marks the first time the nation has waded into the manufacturing of any COVID vaccine, though the government has recently invested hundreds of millions into existing plants, like Resilience Technologies in Mississauga, to help ramp up creation of biologics and mRNA therapeutics in general.

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