Former United Nations Special Envoy in Africa for HIV/AIDS says that it is wrong in Canada to use the programme. Stephen Lewis: “For Canada to be proud of what it’s doing, I think, is a profound mistake.” Canada invested 440 million dollars in COVAX last September. Half of the money was to be spent on securing Canadians up to 15 million doses. In the other half, 92 developing nations, including Afghanistan, Mali and Haiti, had to purchase vaccines. Earlier this week, the federal government announced that, pending regulation, before the end of June, Canada will receive a total of 1.9 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca.
The government says the contribution is “always intended” for the government to have access to supplementary doses for Canada. “We cast our net extremely wide with both international contracts and domestic investments,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month. The procurement was described by Lewis as a “desperate effort” to find millions of doses at a time when shipments of vaccines have declined in Canada. The government has been criticized by the opposition parties for the decision. More than 884,000 people, or 2.3% of the population, have already been shot at least first by Canada.
The federal government insists that sufficient vaccines are available by September to cover the whole population. The first shipments start this month to Latin American and Caribbean countries. The US did not join the former US programme. President Donald Trump, but he has stated that he plans to join. According to the Canadian government, Canada has the largest number of pre-bought dose per person in the world. Lewis says about the government’s decision to buy vaccines from the pharmaceutical industry: “This is just morally and in practice wrong.”