Canada strengthens capacity for pandemic vaccine production

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Tuesday that Canada is partnering with the government of Quebec and GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., to improve Canada's pandemic flu vaccine production capacity.

Canada will make significant investments into GSK's facility in Sainte-Foy, Quebec. The contract with GSK will provide vaccines in case of an influenza pandemic. Because safe and effective vaccines take several months for production, having a strong production capacity is of vital importance.

"The Harper government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and their families," Member of Parliament Jacques Gourde, a representative for the Ministry of Health, said. "Our government continues to work with industry partners such as GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., to ensure that Canadians have rapid, priority access to pandemic vaccine in the event of an influenza pandemic."

By November 2014, GSK's modernized fill-line will more than double its pandemic vaccine production capacity to 33 million doses per month, up from its previous capacity of 14 million doses per month. During a pandemic, the increased production will ensure that a vaccine can be produced and made available to every Canadian more quickly.

Harper's office said the Canadian government's investment reinforces its commitment to supporting immunization in Canada as an important tool for preventing flu outbreaks and pandemics.