“It was a year of deep learning. We learned that in our round earth, each and every one of us is the centre and no country is more central or higher than another. Therefore, whatever we do affects us all equally. The political borders of countries are symbolic signs of nationalistic selfishness that only serve to separate humanity but not protect from a pandemic. We are also aware of the vulnerability we have as human beings and much more as individuals.”
-Ricardo Esquivia, director of MCC partner Sembrandopaz in Colombia.
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 resourced global vaccination plan.
Without political will, low- and middle-income countries, including many of the areas 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..
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.
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 also don’t have the infrastructure in place to ensure that vaccines are able to be transported, stored, and administered safely and quickly before they expire.
The vaccines were developed through the public funding of pharmaceutical research, yet 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, timely access to quality, safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines.
Together, we can end the pandemic!
We invite you to join us in sending a message to the prime minister and the minister of international development to:
- Thank the government for vaccine rollouts in Canada, vaccine dose sharing, and financial support for COVAX.
- Encourage Canada to take leadership in urging the creation of global plan to ensure everyone is able to be vaccinated.
- Express support for the rapid implementation of a redistribution and donation plan of Canada’s purchased and committed vaccine doses to COVAX to ensure a parallel global rollout.
- Encourage Canadian support for the temporary waving of TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) at the World Trade Organization. This will temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) barriers on COVID-19 vaccines to allow for increased production in multiple countries.
- Increase Canadian support for health system strengthening around the world.
Banner image caption: Anna Mwatha, shown with health promoter Joel Esapaya, is a care group leader who helps families in Mathare, an area of Nairobi, Kenya, know how to better care for their health. Over past months, she has also kept this handwashing station filled with water and provided soap she and other care group leaders have made. Mwatha maintains this handwashing station, one of the 50 handwashing stations provided through an MCC partner, and teaches neighbors how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (MCC Photo/Scott Stoner-Eby, 2020)