Despite a plea from the World Health Organization for immediate help, the Canadian government says it is still too early to make any plan for redistributing the surplus vaccines that it has secured.
Canada has signed contracts with manufacturers to purchase up to 414 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines – about five times more than it needs for its population.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in December that the surplus will be donated to the COVAX fund for lower-income countries, but he has not said whether his government will wait to vaccinate the entire Canadian population before making the donation. A federal spokesman said on Monday that the question is still “hypothetical.”
Mr. Trudeau spoke last week to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and his office later said they discussed COVAX and the issue of “equitable and efficient access to vaccines.” But no details were released.
Last month, South African officials warned of “vaccine apartheid” and “chasms of inequity” in the private deals between wealthy countries and vaccine manufacturers.