(Carbis Bay) Canada is donating 13 million surplus vaccines to help poorer countries fight COVID-19.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this commitment at the end of the G7 summit in England on Sunday. Pandemic, climate change and China have dominated the meeting’s agenda for the past two days.
Canada previously said it would offer the world up to 100 million doses of the vaccine to combat the spread of COVID-19. It was still the only country that did not distinguish between financial assistance and the exact number of doses to be delivered overseas.
Mr Trudeau also indicated that Canada will pay for 87 million vaccines to be distributed in poor countries through the Accelerator Act, which aims to accelerate the development and production of diagnostic products, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and ensure equal access to them.
He said that some of these doses are already en route to overseas destinations, but cannot say how many more will be shipped.
“We are already in the process of sharing these vaccines with COVAX,” he replied. We will continue to receive vaccines that we do not need. As Canadians receive more and more vaccinations, we will be able to share with the world. ”
More than seven million doses will come from pharmaceutical company Novovax, whose vaccine has not yet been approved in the country, according to a document handed over by the Prime Minister’s Office.
For other vaccines, Canada will draw from its supply of doses purchased from Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca through COVAX, a vaccine exchange program run by the World Health Organization.
Some criticize Canada for being the only G7 country to use COVAX doses at home.
US President Joe Biden has pledged to deliver 80 million doses, while the UK host of the summit has pledged to send at least 100 million doses over the next year. Japan, Germany, Italy and France have also pledged to distribute millions of doses of the vaccine.
Trudeau emphasized that the donation will not affect vaccination campaigns in Canada, which did start after the arrival of millions of doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and, to a lesser extent, Moderna.
“This international commitment complements and parallel vaccination here. We receive millions of doses every week. Every day, more and more people are getting the first and second dose. ”
Canada received over 100 million doses in a year, more than is necessary to give its population of nearly 38 million two doses per person.
Compete with China
The G7 leaders have unveiled a new plan for infrastructure investment called “Make the World a Better World”, which will require collaboration with the private sector.
This program aims to compete with China’s “New Silk Road” – a series of projects offered to countries in Asia and Africa. Some critics have accused Beijing of wanting to create huge debts for them in order to use “coercive diplomacy.”
Mr. Trudeau did not directly mention this Chinese initiative or the treatment of minorities in that country, such as the Muslim Uyghurs. However, he thanked his G7 colleagues for their support of Canada’s insistence on the release of two of its citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
“The arbitrary detention of the two Michael is of concern not only in Canada, but in all countries of the world,” he said. The use of arbitrary detention and coercive diplomacy is a matter of concern. We are united in emphasizing our disagreement with China in this approach. ”
Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians days after Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou was arrested at Vancouver airport at the request of the United States.
When asked if he called China his adversary, Trudeau chose to emphasize the need for both countries to face the challenge of climate change. He acknowledged that China is a trade competitor and a source of human rights concern.
Trudeau, who will travel to Belgium to attend the NATO summit, also announced that several billion dollars will be provided in additional funding to help poor countries fight climate change.