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Ottawa signs $425-million deal for vaccine if pandemic flu strikes

A picture of a syringue and two flasks of Pandemrix A (H1N1) vaccine from Glaxo Smith Kline.

JEAN-PIERRE MULLER

The federal government has announced a new 10-year pandemic flu vaccine contract with GlaxoSmithKline, valued at more than $425-million.

The contract is intended to ensure a secure supply of vaccine for Canadians in the event of a future influenza pandemic and reduce the possibility of delays in delivery and distribution.

The vaccine will be made at the company's facility in Ste-Foy, Que.

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And this time around, the government has also signed a three-year contract with Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. of Toronto to provide access to a back-up supply of pandemic vaccine if needed.

That contract is worth just over $33-million and would provide an alternate source of vaccine to treat vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and those suffering from chronic diseases.

The government says the two contracts, along with a three-year deal with Novartis worth almost $50-million, will also provide the provinces and territories with seasonal flu vaccine for their annual flu shot campaigns.

"We have worked with our provincial and territorial counterparts to provide governments with a broader range of vaccine products for seasonal flu and to deliver on the commitment to have a long-term pandemic vaccine contract in place before the current contract expires on March 31, 2011," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement Friday.

"Our new primary pandemic vaccine supply contract provides timely, cost-effective access to a secure domestic supply of vaccine for Canadians in the event of an influenza pandemic."

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