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Provinces struggle with suppliers during vaccine shortage

FILE -- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Premier Jason Kenney says the blueprint to reboot Alberta's distressed economy will be unveiled Monday in Calgary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – As the federal government continues to work with Moderna and Pfizer to get vaccines through the shortage, the question being asked is what can the provinces do?

Ottawa says it doesn’t want provinces to go out and make their own deals because it would harm their buying power.

But, Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirms the government won’t stop anyone from getting their own vaccines if they really want to.

“We heard throughout this crisis from various premiers that they were looking to procure their own PPE or vaccines now as the case may be. We, as the federal government, are in no way inhibiting or blocking them from doing so.”

But, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says otherwise.

“We would not have access to Pfizer. The Government of Canada has signed contracts with, I believe, eight pharmaceutical producers to have exclusive rights for the Canadian market,” said Kenney.

“Pfizer clearly has an exclusive selling agreement for the Canadian market with the federal government.”

After reaching out to the pharmaceutical companies, Moderna has not responded, but Pfizer says it can’t say whether or not there is an exclusivity clause in the contract.

The company does, however, confirm it is exclusively dealing with the federal government when it comes to Canadian procurement of the vaccine.