Canada has secured enough potential coronavirus vaccines to fully protect every resident nearly seven times more, even as global shortages have forced poorer nations to wait.
After an initial hiccup with his vaccination. plan, more than 65% of Canadians have now received at least one dose, surpassing the early leaders of Israel and the United Kingdom, and on Friday, Justin Trudeau said that 68 million doses will have reached Canada by the end of July.
But a recent commitment by Canada to donate 100 million doses to the worst affected countries has raised lingering questions about its commitment to addressing such inequalities.
“We’re going to be able to share around the world as we see Canadians getting vaccinated at higher and higher levels, and we just don’t need those doses,” Trudeau said at the G7 summit last week.
Details of the deliveries, however, remain unclear, and of the 100 million promised, 87 million doses reflect previously announced funding commitments, not actual physical doses ready to ship. Only 13 million new actual doses will be shipped to nations in need.
“This is not, this is not new money, and vaccines don’t seem to start moving right away, so it feels a little too late,” said Isha Berry, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University. from Toronto.
Although large orders come to Canada from Pfizer and Moderna every week, the Trudeau government offered other vaccines.
Many are from Novavax, a company whose vaccine has not yet been approved for use in Canada. The remainder are doses that Canada purchased through the Covax global vaccine exchange initiative – from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, the latter of which was temporarily suspended in Canada due to quality issues.
Experts say there is an urgent need to shift resources to countries to effectively combat the growing threat of more infectious variants of the coronavirus. But many argue that the existing mechanism for vaccine sharing has fallen short.
‘Covax’ was a beautiful idea, born out of solidarity. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Rich countries have behaved worse than anyone’s worst nightmares. ” tweeted The Lancet medical journal.
Canada has previously faced criticism as the only G7 nation to rely on donated vaccine stocks destined for poor and middle-income countries.
Trudeau’s announcement also reflected a tense context of vaccine nationalism.
According to recent survey According to Abacus Data, 61% of Canadians believe that it is “morally wrong for people who live in richer countries to have access to vaccines before those in poorer countries.”
But a poll The Angus Reid Institute suggests that nearly three-quarters of Canadians also believe that the government should “focus its efforts at home rather than abroad.”
Berry cautions against pitting countries against each other, especially when so many nations lack the ability to buy doses directly from manufacturers.
“The current global vaccine gap is much worse than most Canadians probably think,” Berry said. Officials at the World Health Organization have said the pandemic will persist until 70% of the population is vaccinated, a distant goal given current promises from rich nations.
Canada’s contributions are nowhere near the 11 billion doses needed globally, but Berry says Canada can nonetheless play a key role in championing vaccine patent exemptions and helping other nations build capacity. .
“We all really want to end this pandemic. Everybody is so tired. But I think there is also a gap in our global understanding of how serious global inequalities really are. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism