The Archbishop of Canterbury says that Canada is partly to blame for poor nations that are unable to access COVID-19 vaccines.
The Most Rev. Justin Welby recently told the UK Parliament that Canada had more than five times what it needed to vaccinate the population, according to Premier Christian News.
Welby made his comments in response to the announcement in the House of Lords that the UK had £548 million to the World Health Organisation’s Covax programme to support access to Covid-19 vaccines for up to 92 developing countries.
"We must welcome very warmly this exceptionally moral leadership in this remarkable donation to the Covax programme which I think is the largest of any country," Welby said. "However, in order to make the money work… we need a global vaccination campaign if we are to overcome this global pandemic."
Welby told the House that there are three obstructions in the way of the global vaccination program. "One is the use of surplus supplies of vaccine. Canada for example has ordered more than five times what it needs for the population."
Welby says that "misinformation" about the vaccines must also be overcome, "which is being deliberately spread about the vaccines and mythical dangers or false stories about it.
"And thirdly, in many parts of the countries that will need it the immense logistic difficulties of distributing it."
Foreign minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon replied that some countries that have ordered an abundance of vaccines have already announced their plans to redistribute them. "We would implore upon them that the most equitable way is through supporting that distribution through the COVAX Facility… for the very reason that they have the most effective infrastructure and network to allow for the equitable and fast-paced distribution of the vaccine as it is rolled out," Lord Ahmad says.
How many vaccines did Canada procure?
The Government of Canada has reached agreements with seven different pharmaceutical companies for access to their COVID-19 vaccines.
In total, the doses equal 398 million for a population of 37.5 million. However, all but the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to be two-dose vaccines, meaning the procured amount could vaccinate around 200 million people.
The Canadian Government says it is participating in the COVAX Facility and has committed $220 million to only procure up to the actual amount necessary to vaccinate everyone in the nation. The government also says it has pledged the same amount of money to COVAX to purchase doses for low and middle-income countries.
So far, only the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been approved by Health Canada.