Federal ministers have announced that Canada will donate an additional 17.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to help vaccinate people in low- and middle-income countries.
International Development Secretary Karina Gold and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the doses are part of the federal government’s advance purchase agreement with the company and will be distributed through COVAX.
COVAX is a global vaccine-sharing initiative jointly coordinated by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The program raises money from wealthier countries to buy vaccines for those countries and ensure that low- and middle-income countries have access to vaccines, too. Canada has already committed $440 million to COVAX.
“As we are now able to donate surplus vaccines, contributing to COVAX with nearly 18 million doses will help meet international needs and end this pandemic,” Anand said in a statement.
The federal government has also announced that it is partnering with UNICEF in a similar fundraising campaign designed to encourage Canadians to donate a vaccine by contributing $10.
The federal government will accept all Canadian donations, up to a maximum of $10 million. The campaign runs until September 6th and people can donate via UNICEF or send a text message to 45678 VACCINES.
According to Anand and Gould, if the match-funding campaign reaches its limit, it will provide enough funds to vaccinate four million people in countries where vaccination campaigns are struggling to meet demand.
More is coming.