Canadians complain about Donald Trump not having a moral compass. Are we any better? What are we if we are not our principles?
It's 'morally' wrong for Canada to procure 1.9M vaccines from international program: Stephen Lewis
TORONTO -- Canada should not be dipping into an international vaccine-sharing pool to secure doses that could otherwise go to developing countries that simply can’t afford them, according to one of the country’s most prominent advocates for global development.
COVAX is an entity that Canada and other countries fund to buy COVID-19 vaccines in bulk and deliver them to poorer nations that aren’t able to compete with wealthier nations to secure vaccine contracts from drug companies.
Canada invested $440 million into COVAX last September. Half of the money was meant to go toward securing up to 15 million doses for Canadians, while the other half was to purchase vaccines for 92 developing nations, including Afghanistan, Mali and Haiti.
The federal government announced earlier this week that Canada is set to receive a minimum of 1.9 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, pending regulatory approval, before the end of June through COVAX.
But Stephen Lewis, the former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, says Canada is wrong to use the program for its own benefit, pointing out that Canada is the first G7 country to do so.
“It was always understood from the outset that this was not a source of vaccines for the rich and wealthy countries of the world,” Lewis told CTV’s Question Period in an interview with Evan Solomon airing on Sunday.
Lewis described the procurement as a “desperate effort” by the government to find millions of doses at a time when Canada has seen vaccine shipments dwindle and questions emerge about its vaccination timeline.
“For Canada to be proud of what it's doing, I think, is a profound mistake,” he said.