To reduce the grossly imbalanced distribution of vaccines globally and put an end to COVID everywhere, Canada must join other wealthy countries in donating doses through COVAX.
Global Citizen Canada and other organizations call on the government to start sharing one dose with frontline health workers and vulnerable people in lower-income countries for every 10 Canadians who can access a dose — now, not later.
Ahead of next week’s G7 Summit in the UK, we call on Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to act on his government’s stated commitment to share vaccines with COVAX — the global COVID vaccine distribution initiative — to help protect frontline health workers and people at high risk of dying from COVID-19 in lower income countries. Canada ordered far more than enough vaccines for our own needs, and sharing doses immediately will save lives and end the global pandemic sooner, while minimizing the impact on people in Canada.
COVID-19 is still spreading in many countries and producing new variants with the potential to evade our vaccines and put us all back at risk. The pandemic will not end in Canada until it ends everywhere, and that means getting enough vaccines to every country, quickly.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), is calling for higher income countries to support a massive push to vaccinate at least 10% of every country's population by September. Canada can and must help by sharing doses in addition to the funding it has provided.
As the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, COVAX has proven it works. However, COVAX is undersupplied because wealthy countries like Canada reserved more vaccine doses than needed, while the most vulnerable in lower income countries wait. Whereas over 50% of people in Canada have received their first dose, less than 1% have received a dose in low-income countries. The crisis in India, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, also led the Indian government to suspend exports, cutting off a big portion of COVAX’s supply. Just 77 million doses out of an initial allocation of 237 million have been shipped by COVAX to 127 economies around the world since February, covering less than 0.5% of their populations.
France, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Norway, and the United States have committed to start sharing vaccines while they continue their own roll-outs. By the end of June, Canada will have received 40 to 48 million doses, more than enough for 75% of Canadians to get a first dose and 20% to receive their second, key thresholds for re-opening plans. By August, Canada will have enough to fully vaccinate its entire population. Canada has ordered more doses per capita (more than 10) than any other country and therefore has a responsibility to share with the world.
For every 10 doses Canada will have received by the end of June, we can start by donating just one vaccine dose to COVAX for a frontline health worker or other vulnerable people. This would amount to at least 4 million doses shared. By using these doses to protect vulnerable people, Canada will slow the spread of the pandemic and future variants. After June, donations should then rapidly increase so that, by the end of the year, Canada will have donated the entirety of its expected 94 million excess doses.
Polls show a large majority of Canadians are in favour of sharing vaccines with lower-income countries. Next week, Canada can join other world leaders at the G7 and make a substantial commitment in the name of equity. This move is also essential for ending the pandemic and is supported by a majority of Canadians: share our vaccines with other countries in need.
Global Citizen Canada
Grandmothers Advocacy Network
Save the Children Canada
World Vision Canada
Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health
Anglican Church of Canada
Engineers Without Borders Canada
Canadian Multifaith Federation
Human Concern International
International Development and Relief Foundation
International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation
National Alliance for the Advancement of Pluralistic Societies
Canadian Baptist Ministries
Union of Medical and Relief Organizations-Canada
La Fondation Anne Sophie Musique
Penny Appeal Canada
Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation
Canadian Council of Imams
Love My Neighbour
National Muslim Christian Liaison Committee
Good Neighbour Project
Mennonite Central Committee Canada