If the COVID-19 pandemic has made anything clear, it’s that viruses don't respect borders — and that individual country responses to them shouldn’t either.
As the world finds itself amid a second wave of the deadly disease, countries must respond with a global agenda, which is what Canada has done so far with its COVID-19 response.
To date, the country has mobilized more than $1.6 billion for the global COVID-19 response, which includes $940 million in funding for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator — a global collaboration that was launched in 2020 to quickly develop tests, treatments, and vaccines against COVID-19 and to ensure their equitable distribution around the world. This also includes $740 million for humanitarian and development assistance, and $488 million in help for organizations to adapt and respond to the issues created by the pandemic in developing countries, according to the government of Canada.
The ACT-Accelerator’s founding organizations include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; UNITAID; the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND); the Wellcome Trust; the World Bank; and the World Health Organization (WHO).
But it’s donor countries that now play a vital role in safeguarding the ACT-Accelerator’s success, and Canada has been one of the countries at the forefront.
Canada committed $40 million in April to CEPI in April 2020, then announced a $300 million commitment as a result of Global Citizen’s Global Goal: Unite for Our Future campaign, with $120 million earmarked for the ACT-Accelerator and $180 million pledged to address humanitarian and development needs created by COVID-19.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then announced a commitment of $220 million to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility on Sept. 25 to help low-income countries access the COVID-19 vaccine.
Another $400 million for global relief for "trusted partners on the ground fighting COVID-19," was announced on Sept. 29 by Trudeau during a video conference at the United Nations that he co-hosted with Secretary-General António Guterres and Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
On Dec. 14, Canada announced a further $485 million commitment to the ACT-Accelerator, and just last week, on Feb. 19 at the G7 Leaders’ meeting, Canada committed another $75 million to the ACT-Accelerator, bringing its total commitment to the ACT-Accelerator to $940 million.
These commitments have been significant and vital in the efforts needed to end the pandemic, but as it currently stands, the ACT-Accelerator is facing a funding gap of $22 billion if it’s going to be able to reach its target of ensuring at least 2 billion vaccines and other COVID-19 medical interventions are available to the poorest countries by the end of 2021.
Countries like Canada must step up to truly bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why Global Citizen is calling on all wealthy countries to fund the ACT-Accelerator and donate excess doses to other countries in need.
This is just one component of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World, which strives to end COVID-19 for all, end the hunger crisis, resume learning everywhere, protect the planet, and advance equity for all.