Canada·Video

The vaccine: What went wrong with the CanSino deal?

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government partnered with a China-based firm to create and produce a made-in-Canada vaccine. But after several months, the deal fell apart with not a single dose of vaccine administered to Canadians.

Federal officials wasted months, spent millions on a lab that never produced a single shot

The Vaccine

9 months ago
Duration 45:10
Bob McKeown examines how a deal the Canadian government struck with a China-based company to create a COVID-19 vaccine fell apart, and why some say Ottawa should never have considered the deal in the first place.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government partnered with a China-based firm to create and produce a made-in-Canada vaccine. But after several months, the deal fell apart with not a single dose of vaccine administered to Canadians.

In our season premiere, we talk to those who were involved about why the deal stalled. We hear from those who say the Canadian government should never have considered the vaccine at a time when Canada and China were locked in a political battle over a Chinese tech executive under house arrest in Vancouver at the same time Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were behind bars in China.

The Fifth Estate's Bob McKeown examines the role those tensions may have played in scuttling the deal for the vaccine.

Watch the investigation above or stream it on CBC Gem with described video. 

  • Stream past episodes of The Fifth Estate on Gem 

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