December 14, 2020 — Today was a milestone moment in Canada’s global leadership in fighting the impacts of COVID-19 with significant commitments by the Government of Canada to provide for equitable distribution of the vaccine around the world, as well as to combat food insecurity and malnutrition that has intensified during the pandemic.
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, announced the government’s contributions to secure urgently-needed COVID-19 treatments for developing countries and ensure that frontline healthcare workers are equipped to administer vaccines and treatments in vulnerable nations.
Focused investments alongside the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will advance the development, delivery and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics as part of the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Further, Canada’s contribution to Gavi will ensure the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This bold series of investments by Canada means that our odds of beating COVID-19 here at home by beating it everywhere has increased substantially and with an accelerated timeline,” said Julia Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH). “These actions by the Government of Canada today reflect the sentiments of 79 percent of Canadians who believe that unless COVID-19 is controlled in all parts of the world, life won’t be able to return to normal in Canada.”
The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, philanthropists and global health organizations to support the development and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates of the ACT-Accelerator estimate that for every $1 invested in the global pandemic response, Canada could get more than $5.60 back in economic returns.
The roll-out of the Canadian COVID-19 response announced today will also support training and provision of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers as they work to administer COVID-19 vaccines and treatments worldwide.
Added Anderson, “Prioritizing frontline healthcare workers, as this announcement does, is important to Canadians, 76 percent of whom told us in a recent national poll that frontline healthcare workers in Canada and around the world, should get the COVID-19 vaccine first.”
The impacts of COVID-19 have been acutely experienced in developing and vulnerable nations, including increased food insecurity and malnutrition, especially for women and children. Acknowledging this, the Government of Canada also co-hosted the launch of a Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Year of Action. Minister Gould demonstrated Canada’s leadership in gender equality, highlighting the important connections between gender and nutrition and noting that women and girls are twice as likely as men and boys to be malnourished.
Canada’s commitment to equitable access to COVID-19 countermeasures is an important step toward beating this global pandemic, for the health of us all.