Ottawa – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced over US$170 million in additional funding to support COVID-19 vaccination needs in lower income countries, including the Caribbean.
“From the start, Canada knew that the COVAX Facility was the best way to get vaccines to countries who need them the most,” said Trudeau, making the announcement on Friday while participating virtually at the 2022 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit.
The summit, co-hosted by Germany, Senegal, Indonesia and Gavi, has helped raise urgent financial support for the COVAX Facility to promote economic recovery, accelerate efforts to address COVID-19 in low and lower-middle income countries, and strengthen health systems in developing countries to better prepare for future pandemics and health crises.
Trudeau said COVAX has delivered over 1.4 billion vaccines to 145 participating countries.
“We will continue to work with COVAX not only to increase vaccine supply but also delivery so we can make sure that vaccines can get from airports into arms as quickly as possible,” he said.
The Canadian prime minister said this additional support builds on the more than CAN$2.7 billion Canada has provided for international assistance in response to COVID-19.
“It will address barriers to access to COVID-19 vaccines and improve the capacity of lower-income countries to distribute vaccines by ensuring that countries have the financial, operational and technical support they need to get people vaccinated,” he said.
Trudeau said Canada is playing “a lead role in ending the pandemic by working with international partners to address barriers and support equitable access to life-saving vaccines, tests and treatments”.
“We continue to demonstrate our commitment to the COVAX Facility through our work as the co-chair of the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Engagement Group, our financial commitments, improving vaccine donation management, and by delivering the equivalent of over 100 million doses – with more to come,” he said.
Trudeau said Canada “remains committed to supporting the COVAX Facility to ensure that all participating countries have rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the support they need to deliver them”.
He said working with global partners, governments and stakeholders, through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and the COVAX Facility is “the best way to ensure that the world can move beyond this pandemic together.”
Trudeau said organisations and international bodies such as, Gavi, the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, and UNICEF are all helping to deliver vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable.
He said they are also supporting developing countries, such as those in the Caribbean, to build capacity to respond to COVID-19, as well as future outbreaks, “which will help save millions of lives”.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have known that, to truly end this pandemic anywhere, we have to end it everywhere,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development.
“Canada will continue to be among the world leaders in improving access to COVID-19 vaccines and coordinating global action to end this pandemic, to ensure everyone has a fair chance to build a better future in the years ahead.” (CMC)