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Global Times

Trudeau pledges over 300 mln USD for COVID-19 vaccine global access program

Global Times

Source: Xinhua Published: 2020/9/26 12:18:12

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that his government is committing 440 million Canadian dollars (about 328 million U.S. dollars) to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility designed to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The funding will be split equally to two parts, with half securing 15 million doses of vaccines for Canada from the COVAX Facility, and the other half going to help poorer countries get access to the vaccine as well.

The best way to end the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep Canadians healthy is through a safe and effective vaccine, Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.

"Canadians must have access to a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 no matter where it is developed," he said, adding that to eliminate the virus in Canada, it also needs to be eliminated around the world.

Trudeau also called on Canadians once again to remain vigilant against COVID-19 spread as the country passed a grim milestone in recording 150,000 confirmed cases on Friday. "What we do now, will be critical for the weeks and months to come."

Earlier this month, the United States said it would not join the COVAX Facility. The World Health Organization said more than 170 economies are engaged in discussions to potentially participate in the global initiative.

Over the past months, the Trudeau government has signed agreements with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna to procure millions of doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.

The agreements are valued more than 1 billion Canadian dollars (about 747 million U.S. dollars), much of which is not refundable even if the vaccines are never approved. Currently, no vaccines have been approved to prevent COVID-19 in Canada.

The COVAX Facility is managed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in close partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization.

The COVAX Facility is currently investing in vaccine production capacity across multiple vaccine candidates so that, upon regulatory approval, doses can be made available to participants.

Canada's commitment to the COVAX Facility complements its bilateral agreements with vaccine manufacturers and further diversifies Canada's portfolio of vaccine candidates.

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