Canada will take its share of vaccine doses from the internationally funded COVAX initiative and won’t give any doses to different international locations till all Canadians are vaccinated, stated Procurement Minister Anita Anand.
“We are going to make sure that all Canadians have access to vaccines. That’s our priority, that’s the role of the federal government,” Anand informed CBC News Network’s Power & Politics Friday.
“We will then make sure that we are sharing vaccines with the rest of the world and I will say that motivates us every day.”
COVAX is a world vaccine-sharing initiative collectively coordinated by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.
The program swimming pools funds from wealthier international locations to purchase vaccines for these international locations and guarantee low- and middle-income international locations have entry to vaccines as effectively.
Canada will obtain 1.9 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from this system by the tip of June.
The federal authorities purchased into COVAX with $440 million in September and dedicated a further $75 million final month.
Half of the unique $440 million secured doses for Canadians, and the opposite half is directed towards offering doses for 92 international locations that need assistance securing vaccines.
“We are entitled under our agreement with COVAX to draw down on that commitment that we made with them back in the summer,” she informed visitor host Catherine Cullen. “We are committed to the COVAX facility … and we are one of the largest contributors to that facility and will continue to support it.”
‘We have sufficient doses,’ says former UN envoy
Canada has been criticized for saying it can take vaccine doses from COVAX, regardless of having signed provide contracts that may guarantee every Canadian may very well be vaccinated ten instances over.
Last month, Canada’s former ambassador to the UN added his voice to these questioning Canada’s determination to just accept COVID-19 vaccines from the worldwide vaccine sharing initiative.
Watch: Procurement minister says Canada will nonetheless use its share of COVAX vaccines:
“We don’t need it. We will have enough doses to do the job and we’re getting them online very quickly,” Stephen Lewis informed CBC News Network’s Power & Politics
Green Party chief Annamie Paul has additionally criticized the transfer.
“Canada is part of a global family, and Canadians know that caring for our neighbours extends beyond our borders. Canadians want to be responsible members of the international community, and the government should refuse to take any doses from the COVAX facility. It’s not smart, but most importantly, it’s not right,” she stated in a press release revealed on her occasion’s web site final month.
September schedule stays
Earlier right this moment, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated vaccine producer Pfizer has agreed to maneuver up the supply of three.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine — initially scheduled to reach in the summertime — to the following three months.
The firm will ship a further 1.5 million doses in March, a million extra doses in April and one other million in May, Trudeau stated, bringing the whole variety of doses of all authorized vaccines anticipated to reach by the tip of this month to eight million.
Anand stated that even with Canada now able to obtain two million extra doses than it had deliberate for by the tip of the primary quarter of the yr, she’s not ready to maneuver up the September deadline to ship vaccines to all Canadians who need them.
She stated that world provide chains stay risky and till the federal authorities may be utterly certain vaccine deliveries will arrive on schedule, the federal government will follow its preliminary deadline.
“We’ve seen manufacturers make decisions about retooling their plants and indeed, that’s an important thing to remember — these global supply chains are still volatile and we are protecting our vaccine supply chain every step of the way,” she stated.