Canada will donate nearly 18 million doses of AstraZeneca surplus drugs to low- and middle-income countries

The Federal Minister of Canada announced on Monday that Canada will donate an additional 17.7 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to help people in low- and middle-income countries get vaccinated.

International Development Minister Karina Gould and Purchasing Minister Anita Anand stated that these doses are part of a pre-purchase agreement between the federal government and the company and will be distributed through COVAX.

COVAX is a global vaccine sharing program that is jointly coordinated by the World Health Organization, the Alliance for Epidemic Prevention Innovation and the Vaccine Alliance Gavi.

The plan pools funds from richer countries to purchase vaccines for these countries and ensures that low- and middle-income countries also have access to vaccines. Canada has pledged US$440 million to COVAX.

Anand said in a statement: “As we are now able to donate excess vaccines, the contribution of nearly 18 million doses of COVAX will help meet international demand and end this pandemic.”

The federal government also announced that it is cooperating with UNICEF to launch a supporting fundraising campaign aimed at encouraging Canadians to donate vaccines by donating $10.

All donations from Canadians will be matched by the federal government, up to a maximum of 10 million Canadian dollars. The event will last until September 6, and people can donate through UNICEF or send SMS 45678.

According to Anand and Gould, if the matching funding campaign reaches its peak, it will provide sufficient funds to vaccinate 4 million people in countries where vaccination campaigns cannot meet their needs.

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