Health Canada kept its COVID jab contracts locked behind a shroud of secrecy, but courtesy of an access to information request the cat is finally out the bag.
The Canadian Independent recently obtained a redacted "price and payment" schedule for the 2020 Pfizer contract billed to taxpayers, despite Cabinet claiming to be bound to secrecy on the deal.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the heavily censored and “confidential” Manufacturing And Supply Agreement ran 59 pages.
Health Canada ordered 238 million COVID jabs from Pfizer Canada to vaccinate residents, including 30 million for 2023 and 2024 that further contributed to in excess of a $1 billion oversupply.
According to an Auditor General report, the federal agency had a large surplus, leading to considerable vaccine wastage. She blamed distribution and tracking issues caused by government negligence.
"When will the department divulge the costs per unit for the vaccine contracts?" asked NDP MP Matthew Green before the Commons government operations committee in 2021.
Then-Public Works Minister Anita Anand testified that her government spent $8 billion on COVID jabs since the onset of the pandemic.
"I want to be clear that I respect and believe strongly in accountability and transparency and at the same time I want to make sure our relationships with our vaccine suppliers are not undermined," she said.
On March 23, Najah Sampson, president of Pfizer Canada, told the Commons public accounts committee that their contract with the feds was so secret even MPs couldn’t see them, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
"Disclosure of our confidential agreement would be an extraordinary use of authority," she testified, lauding "unintended consequences on Canada’s reputation" should the advanced purchase agreement become public.
Ultimately, the committee ordered the Department of Public Works to surrender secret COVID jab contracts for scrutiny. "We simply want to ensure there was no abuse and that if mistakes were made, we could learn from them," said Bloc MP Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, 11 public accounts committee members accessed the contracts in a closed room without access to smartphones, cameras or written notes.
Including Medicago, the feds signed agreements with Moderna (up to 44 million doses), Pfizer-BioNTech (up to 51 million), Johnson and Johnson (up to 38 million), Novovax (up to 76 million), Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline (up to 72 million), and AstraZeneca (20 million).
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, industry rates from all vaccine manufacturers ranged from $14.50 per dose in the European Union to $19.50 in the United States. In a December 6, 2022 report, Canada's Auditor General said costs averaged about $30 per dose.
One Canadian manufacturer, CEO Brad Sorenson of Providence Therapeutics of Calgary, told the Commons finance committee in 2021 his company negotiated a price of $18 per dose with the Government of Manitoba.
"I’m not ashamed to say that Providence is making a fairly reasonable profit at that price," he said. "If there was an opportunity to do something and improve on that pricing, we certainly would look at it."
"To secure early access to safe and effective vaccines for everyone eligible to be vaccinated in the county, the Government of Canada set up advance purchase agreements with several manufacturers," said Health Canada spokesperson Chris Aoun.
At the time, the feds did not know if any of the vaccines would receive approval from Health Canada. Officials have repeatedly refused to disclose the amounts paid for any of those vaccines.
Within the Pfizer contract dated October 26, 2020, on page 18, it states the "Purchaser further acknowledges that the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and that there may be adverse effects of the Vaccine that are not currently known."
"Furthermore, to the extent applicable, the Purchaser acknowledges that the Product shall not be serialized," it said.
Health Minister Mark Holland justified their contracts with jab manufacturers, stating his government had to provide Canadians with a quick vaccine supply.
"It was impossible to know at that time which would be good for people," he said. "That’s the reason why it was important to try all options, and that’s the issue here."