Canada Commits $440 Million Towards International COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative as Virus Death Toll Likely to Reach 2 Million

As coronavirus cases continue to rise rapidly around the world, the race to develop a successful vaccine has become the forefront of government spending. On Friday, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will pledge $440 million towards the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) , which will see Canada secure millions of vaccine doses for itself, as well as equal doses for developing countries around the world.

Trudeau unveiled that Canada will be committing a total of $440 million to COVAX, which is an international program that works to ensure that poor countries have fair and adequate access to viable COVID-19 vaccines. The $440 million will be divided equally, with Canada gaining access to 15 million vaccine doses, while another 15 million doses will be allocated to lower income countries to aid in their fight against the pandemic. Trudeau brought attention to the global spread of the deadly virus, noting that in order to eliminate it completely, vaccines need to be available domestically and abroad.

In addition to Canada’s commitment to COVAX, the federal government has earmarked over $1 billion towards purchasing vaccines for Canadians, including a recent deal with AstraZeneca for 20 million vaccine doses. AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate is currently in its third and final clinical trial, with promising results. However, Canada’s financial commitment to vaccine access is not refundable, even if the vaccines never make it to the approval phase. In the meantime, the Canadian Society for International Health and the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research have collectively criticized Canada’s alleged selfishness in purchasing doses for itself while hindering access for less fortunate candidates.

Although many countries around the world are scrambling to create a viable vaccine to combat the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released some grim projections. According to WHO head of emergencies Mike Ryan, the COVID-19 death toll is expected to double to 2 million before a vaccine is even widely available. He drew attention to the alarming increase in infections worldwide, with parts of Europe including France and the UK reporting the highest-ever rise in cases.

As many countries around the world have been lifting coronavirus restrictions, a gradual increase in cases has been emerging. In fact, the number of cases has skyrocketed to such alarming levels that some governments are considering re-imposing restrictions as the fall and winter flu season nears. Worldwide, there have been over 32.3 million people infected with the virus with more than 980,000 deaths as a result, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Information for this briefing was found via the Government of Canada, the WHO, and Johns Hopkins University. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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