Government, Sanofi officials unveil $925M in vaccine funding in Toronto

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Representatives from all three levels of government announced joint funding to expand Canada’s vaccine manufacturing capacity in Toronto on Wednesday morning.  

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The federal government will spend $415 million on the partnership with Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. Ontario’s government will contribute $55 million to the project.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Toronto Mayor John Tory are attending the announcement in North York.

For its part, Sanofi will invest more than $455 million as well as create and maintain 1,225 highly-skilled jobs in Canada. The company will also invest at least $79 million a year to fund Canadian research and development.

Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli and his federal counterpart, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, were also on hand for the announcement.

“We are now never going to have to rely on any country … so thank you for this,” Ford said during the announcement.

The Toronto Star was first to report the multi-million dollar deal with the French pharmaceutical company, which already has a facility in the city where it produces influenza vaccines.

“Today is an actual, tangible demonstration that we’ve all learned lessons from the pandemic and are doing something about it,” Tory said.

The new money is expected to boost the facility’s capacity to produce and distribute vaccines.

“The investment will enable Sanofi to bulk manufacture Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine, a flu vaccine approved for people 65 years and older, at its historic Connaught site in Toronto,” a provincial release said.

The government officials will likely take questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be worsening again Wednesday. Ontario now has more COVID patients in intensive care than ever before, according to a daily document provided to hospitals.

On Monday, Ford warned Ontarians to not make any Easter plans ahead of the holiday weekend and hinted that more restrictions could be on the way later this week to deal with a third wave of the pandemic experts have warned is out of control.

The City of Toronto, meanwhile, continues to see the highest number of COVID cases anywhere in the province.

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