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Federal government to pour $1.1B into COVID-19 vaccine work, tracking

Last Updated Apr 23, 2020 at 10:57 am MDT

A flu shot is given at a clinic in Calgary. Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will spend $1.1 billion to help develop and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as countrywide test surveys to determine how widely the virus has spread through Canada.

The cash announced today is on top of $275 million in research funding the Liberals announced in March at the outset of the pandemic.

Most of the new money is aimed at funding vaccine development and clinical trials, including $600 million over two years through a federal innovation fund that the government says could help the
country’s biomanufacturing sector.

Smaller amounts will go to tracking and identifying different strains of the virus and the different health impacts it has had on different patients.

Trudeau also says the government will create a task force of public health experts that includes Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Dr. David Naylor, who has advised Liberal
and Conservative governments on health and science issues.

The task force will be asked to oversee country-wide blood test surveys to get a better handle on potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canada.