Canada to share up to 100M COVID-19 vaccine doses with developing nations
OTTAWA -- Canada is planning to contribute up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, including both actual doses and through previously-announced funding to the COVAX global vaccine-sharing initiative.
The sharing of doses will happen once Canada’s domestic vaccine rollout is complete, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set to unveil more details during the G7 Summit in the U.K, according to a government source.
High Commissioner for Canada in the U.K. Ralph Goodale later confirmed Canada’s commitment would include both actual doses and cash donations.
“More will be required and more will be forthcoming,” Goodale said, restating that there will be “no negative impact on the vaccination plan for Canadians.”
The donation comes as part of an overall G7 goal of having leaders agree to give access to up to one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, after wealthy nations have been accused of vaccine-hoarding while others struggle to access supply.
The confirmation comes after Trudeau was the only leader among his G7 peers who had yet to outline what his country’s contribution would be.
The prime minister has on several occasions spoken about how Canada’s position is that until COVID-19 is controlled everywhere, the pandemic won’t truly be over anywhere, given the risks of new variants and outbreaks.
Canada has come under fire for tapping into the COVAX supply to access AstraZeneca vaccines, though the government has taken the position that Canada was using the program as designed, and noted it’s one of the leading donors to the effort.
Canada has spent $440 million towards the COVAX initiative, half of which was intended for Canada to be able to secure up to 15 million doses for use in this country, and the other $220 million to go towards lower-income nations’ purchases of vaccines.
The day before the G7 summit, the U.K. promised to send at least 100 million doses within the next year, and U.S. President Joe Biden pledged he would send away another half billion.
France and Germany have promised at least 30 million doses this year. Japan has also committed to 30 million doses while Italy has promised 15 million.
The G7 summit taking place in Cornwall, U.K. kicked off Friday, with events throughout the weekend. It’s Trudeau’s first international trip since the start of the pandemic.
Trudeau's first day of meetings started in a virtual audience with Queen Elizabeth, and Goodale told reporters Friday that the prime minister spoke with her about COVID-19, the Kamloops, B.C. residential school graves, the London attack, and the process to choose a new governor general. Goodale said Trudeau is expecting to have a brief face-to-face interaction with the Queen at an evening event.
Trudeau also met one-on-one with host of the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spoke about wanting the three-day gathering to produce plans to end the pandemic by the end of next year.
With a report from CTV National News’ Glen McGregor and files from The Canadian Press.