Canadian Minister for International Development Karina Gould announced on Monday that Canada is committing CAD $485 million in new aid to help lower-income countries access the vital medical tools needed to target COVID-19 and end the pandemic: tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The funds committed will go to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a groundbreaking partnership of global health organizations that’s leading the international effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines to lower-income countries.
“The faster we can get tests, treatments, and vaccines out to people, the sooner this pandemic can be contained. Canada’s support of global efforts to find successful medical solutions is a win for all,” Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of International Development, said in a press release.
The release added: “This virus will not be fully eradicated until it’s eradicated everywhere. That is why Canada is committed to a robust global effort to end the pandemic and address its devastating health, social, economic, and security impacts.”
A core part of the funding ($230 million) will go towards ensuring the most vulnerable to COVID-19 in the poorest countries can access life-saving antibody treatments to minimize deaths and severe illness, which will also relieve pressure on already weak and over-stretched hospitals and health systems. This is critical as it will take time for the global supply of vaccines to scale up and doses to reach the poorest countries.
The other core part ($255 million) will reinforce the supplies and systems needed to deploy vaccines and treatments against COVID-19 in developing and vulnerable countries, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This may include training for frontline health workers on how to administer vaccines and treatments, the supply of syringes and critical personal protective equipment (PPE), and support for planning and executing mass vaccination campaigns.
Canada will also help Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to develop a mechanism to fairly reallocate vaccine doses through COVAX (the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, which Gavi co-leads) either by donation or exchange.
The incredible commitment will save lives and help the world recover better together from the pandemic as soon as possible.
It also vaults Canada into the very top tier of countries supporting the ACT-Accelerator, bringing its total pledges to date already to nearly 90% of its fair share. Back on June 27, during Global Citizen’s Global Goal: Unite For Our Future broadcast event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced one of Canada’s first commitments to the ACT-Accelerator.
Since the start of the pandemic, Global Citizen, the ONE Campaign, and Results Canada have been campaigning for Canada to direct 1% of the money spent responding to COVID-19 at home towards global relief efforts, including to the ACT-Accelerator and to alleviate the related hunger, education, and poverty crises the pandemic has caused.
Not only is this the right thing to do to save lives and help the poorest countries tackle the virus and its devastating effects — it’s also the smart thing because it will protect our health and economic security at home. New research from the Eurasia Group reveals that for every $1 Canada invests in the global response and a fully funded ACT-Accelerator, it will get back over $5.60 in economic returns.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 1.5 million people worldwide. It is further projected to push as many as 115 million people into extreme poverty, with 265 million expected to face acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, millions of children are out of school — and some will never go back.
That’s why it’s crucial for the world to unite together to end the pandemic as soon as possible and restore the world’s promise of ending extreme poverty.
Launched in April by seven global partners, the ACT-Accelerator is a unique coalition aimed at accelerating global efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. Its members are working together to develop tests, treatments, and vaccines as quickly as possible, while also strengthening the world’s most fragile health systems.
But the organization desperately needs financial support from governments around the world. You can join us in calling on world leaders to fund the ACT-Accelerator by taking action here.