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Oxfam reaction to G7 and Canadian government’s additional contributions to COVAX program for COVID-19 vaccines

February 19, 2021

In response to the G7 and Canadian government’s announcements to pledge more money to the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s Director of Policy and Campaigns said the following:

Canada was one of the G7 countries to make welcome steps to increase the supply of vaccines to poor countries. This leadership plays and important role in pushing others to increase their support and commitments. But the COVAX mechanism alone remains insufficient when compared to the scale of the Covid-19 threat.

Making huge parts of Africa and Asia wait for unwanted, leftover vaccines from rich countries’ stocks is not just immoral, it is irresponsible. The lack of coordinated action from the G7 is inexcusable. The longer huge swathes of the world’s population are denied protection, the greater the threat that virus mutations will threaten us all.

Poor countries should not be forced to wait for vaccines to trickle down to them. Between them, G7 nations have secured enough vaccines for every one of their citizens to be vaccinated three times over, while many poor countries are yet to receive a single dose.

Canada should use its leadership to encourage G7 countries to stop supporting pharmaceutical corporations monopolies on Covid-19 vaccines. Breaking up the monopolies of the big pharmaceutical companies is the quickest, fairest and most effective way of boosting vaccine production so that countries are not forced to compete to secure doses. The G7 and other rich nations should stop blocking the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights for all COVID-19 vaccines being proposed at the World Trade Organization by South Africa, India and over 100 developing nations.

The G7 urgently needs to get its priorities straight during this unprecedented pandemic and stop putting the profits of big pharma ahead of a people’s vaccine.

– 30 –

Notes to editors:

  • The figure that G7 countries have secured enough doses to vaccinate their citizens 3 times over is based on Airfinity data from 10 February on the number of doses they have secured of vaccines which have currently been approved for use and those in later stage trials (AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac, Moderna, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson). For EU countries this figure is calculated by dividing the total EU supply based on country population, plus bilateral deals Germany has done with Pfizer and Curevac).
  • Figures are based on people being fully vaccinated, for the vaccines where 2 doses are required.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Paula Baker
Media Relations
Oxfam Canada
(613) 240-3047

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