Together we can End COVID-19

As a global community, we currently have enough vaccines and vaccine manufacturing capacities to ensure that everyone can be vaccinated. Together we have everything we need to end the pandemic! What we are missing is coordinated global political will. While some countries, including Canada, have committed to dose sharing and increasing global health funding, there is still no global vaccination plan with the resources to succeed.

Without this political will, low- and middle-income countries, including many of the countries where MCC partners work, will not access enough doses to vaccinate more than 20% of their population until at least 2022. According to figures from Our World in Data, only 1.1 per cent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, compared to 26.9 per cent of the total world population, the majority located in high-income countries.

Women wait socially distanced for water

In India in April 2020, women waiting for water follow COVID-19 precautions urged by MCC partner Institute of Social Action and Research Activities (ISARA). (Photo courtesy of ISARA and Jajati Pandit)

Despite this stark inequality, some countries are already planning and administrating booster vaccine shots. Administering boosters to already vaccinated populations will further limit global vaccination efforts.  The World Health Organization is urging a ban on booster doses until at least the end of September when there is expected to be a minimum of 10% vaccination coverage in every country.

Additionally, in highly vaccinated populations, particularly in wealthy countries, unused vaccines may end up being destroyed instead of sent to areas where they are needed most. And even if surplus vaccines are available for shipping, many local health systems around the world don’t have the infrastructure in place to ensure that vaccines are able to be shipped, stored and administered safely and quickly before they expire.

Even though the vaccines were developed through the public funding of pharmaceutical research, global trade patent technology rules (TRIPS) restrict the production of vaccines through intellectual property barriers. Many countries are unable to access the intellectual property and resources required to produce their own vaccine supply. So far, Canada has yet to support a temporary TRIPS waiver proposal at the World Trade Organization.

MCC partners and communities around the world are very concerned about safe, equitable and effective prevention and response to the pandemic. They ask us to support measures to ensure that all countries, irrespective of wealth, have unhindered and timely access to quality, safe, effective, and affordable vaccines. The pandemic will not end anywhere unless it ends everywhere. 

While we are grateful for Canadian efforts so far, MCC believes that Canada can take more of a leadership role in urging the creation of a global vaccination plan and ensuring that our own policies around trade, vaccine dose sharing, and global health spending support ending the pandemic globally.

 

Sample Questions to Candidates:

  • How will you work to ensure that Canada takes more global leadership to urge coordinated vaccination efforts around the world, including access to booster shots? How will you ensure equitable distribution and administration of vaccines to those most in need globally?

 

  • Currently, the TRIPS Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights at the World Trade Organization is preventing multiple countries from accessing the intellectual property to produce their own vaccines. What can and should Canada do to address this barrier?  

 

  • What are some ways Canada can support strengthening health system infrastructure around the world to ensure vaccines are able to be administered safely when they arrive in low and middle-income countries?

 

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