OTTAWA — The federal government will donate 17.7 million COVID-19 vaccines to the global vaccine-sharing network COVAX and match Canadians’ donations to UNICEF’s vaccination fundraising campaign to bolster international supply.
International Development Minister Karina Gould and Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced on Monday that the doses would come from Canada’s procured batch of AstraZeneca vaccines and would be managed by COVAX’s dose-sharing mechanism.
The government will match up to a maximum of $10 million donated to the campaign “Give a Vax,” which will run until Sept. 6.
At the G7 summit in mid-June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to sharing 100 million vaccine doses with developing nations, through both actual doses and previously-announced funding to COVAX.
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 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.
More to come…
With files from CTV News’ Rachel Aiello.