3. Providing health services effectively
The section on PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES EFFECTIVELY describes approaches for service delivery planning and patient pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases. It also considers efforts by countries to maintain other essential services during periods of excessive demand for health services.
3.1 Planning services
Health service provision, including public health and medical services, is primarily the responsibility of provincial and territorial (PT) governments. To strengthen coordination across the country, a federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) Special Advisory Committee on the Novel Coronavirus (SAC) was established on January 28, 2020 to advise senior bureaucratic officials (Deputy Ministers) across Canada on the outbreak.
COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy
As of September 25, 2020, the Government of Canada, under the advice of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force put together by the Canadian government, had signed agreements with the following companies for supplying vaccine doses under the condition that they pass clinical trials and receive regulatory approval from Health Canada: AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Johnson and Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer, and Moderna (Canada, 2020ca). The government of Canada also announced its commitment to supporting the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility, which is investing in vaccine production capacity across multiple vaccine candidates worldwide. Canada committed CA$220 million to procure up to 15 million vaccine doses for Canadians, and an additional CA$220 million to purchase doses for low- and middle-income countries (Canada, 2020ca).
On October 23, the Prime Minister announced an investment of CA$173 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support the development of a vaccine and antibody production facility within Canada, Medicago, based in Quebec City. These funds will help develop Medicago’s vaccine through clinical trials and help form a “large-scale vaccine and antibody production facility to increase Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing capacity” (ibid). An additional CA$18.2 million was announced through the SIF for Precision NanoSystems Incorporated, based in Vancouver, to advance a COVID-19 vaccine candidate through clinical trials, and CA$23.2 million through the national Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to advance six other COVID-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials (Canada, 2020cn). On October 23 2020 the federal government announced a CA$173 million investment through the Strategic Innovation Fund to help the respond to COVID-19 and improve Canada’s preparedness in the future (Health Canada, 2020n).
On November 27, it was announced that Major-General Dany Fortin and other general officers and staff of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence will assist with logistical planning of the distribution of vaccine doses across Canada (PHAC, 2020am).
On December 7 2020, the Government of Canada awarded a contract to FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies Inc. for ensuring the end-to-end distribution of COVID-19 vaccines (Canada, 2020dc).
Health Canada approval was granted for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 9, 2020 (Health Canada, 2020o), with 249,00 doses to be delivered in December 2020 (Canada, 2020db). On December 12, authorization was granted to this vaccine to be distributed with English-only carton and vial labels (Health Canada, 2020p).
On December 15, 168,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were purchased in addition to doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, contingent on Health Canada authorization, for arrival in December 2020 (Canada, 2020dd). Authorization for distribution of this vaccine with English-only vial and carton labels was granted on December 23 2020 (Health Canada, 2020r).
See full reference list under ‘Key links and articles: Full list of references’.