Albertans are known for being innovators and problem solvers, and the provincial government is hoping that local organizations can bring a solution to a global problem.
The province is asking for proposals for developing and manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine right here in Alberta, and is accepting applications from companies and organizations until March 21.
The government believes that Alberta is positioned to lead this work in the fight against COVID-19 as the province is home to world-renowned researchers and unique infrastructure that can support the development of vaccines.
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“The economic recovery of Alberta, Canada, and the world depends on achieving mass vaccination against COVID-19,” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, said in a statement. “Our government is exploring potential opportunities in the development and manufacturing of vaccines right here at home.”
“Albertans are hard-working innovators and problem solvers, and we are ready to see how they propose to continue the fight against COVID-19.”
Alberta’s Jobs, Economy and Innovation Ministry is creating a Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Sector Strategy to boost the growth of the sector.
Developing pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity is a key part of that strategy, and this project reflects that.
Although it’s unlikely that any of the vaccines being proposed in Alberta would be ready in time to make a difference in the current COVID-19 vaccine program, the government hopes that this project will lead the way for vaccine creation in the event of any future pandemics.
In Monday’s COVID-19 update, Health Minister Tyler Shandro was asked whether the province was still going ahead with domestic development and manufacturing of vaccines.
“[We] continue work on that project, and the focus of that project wasn’t just on vaccine manufacturing domestically for COVID-19,” said Shandro, “But for any future pandemic, and the need for us to be able to work with other provinces, like Manitoba, and in Ontario.”
“A lot of this is work that’s being spearheaded … to make sure that we as provinces also have domestic supply, and a manufacturing of vaccines in Canada, so that there aren’t concerns about having to rely solely on other countries for their manufacturing.”
Companies and organizations interested in submitting their proposals can apply online starting March 8, with applications closing at midnight on March 21.
According to the Government of Alberta, 290,391 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province as of March 6. There are now 90,937 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.