Progress amidst the pandemic is moving forward. A COVID-19 vaccine in Canada will now involve deals with drug manufacturers to help produce one. However, it could still be at least a year until it is available.

In an August 5 press conference, Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, along with Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, announced that the government is working with "a number of suppliers" to deliver vaccines to Canadians.

"The government of Canada has entered into agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of their vaccine candidates," Anand said, adding that the country is among the first to establish these deals.

She said that Pfizer is "evaluating at least four experimental vaccine candidates," with clinical trials taking place in countries such as Germany and the United States.

Anand noted that the early results from these trials, as well as ones from Moderna, are "promising."

Despite this, she reminded Canadians that all vaccine candidates will have to go through stages of development, testing, manufacturing, and distribution. 

They will also require Health Canada regulatory approval before anyone can actually get one.

Even with progress being made and agreements occurring with new partners, the wait for a vaccine may still be a while.

Anand responded to a question regarding Health Canada approval, saying "once that has occurred, we are expecting deliveries, if all goes well, in 2021."

Another question regarding any potential vaccines that are distributed throughout the country is whether or not every Canadian will be required to get one.

Anand cited Dr. Theresa Tam in saying that any vaccine would "likely not be mandatory," and said that it would be an "added protection" to go along with steps that are already being taken to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

That would include all the things that Canadians have become familiar with since March, such as frequent hand-washing, wearing masks, and social distancing.

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