Federal Government Fails to Support Vaccine-sharing with Other Countries

Federal Government Fails to Support Vaccine-sharing with Other Countries

Posted on February 12, 2021 at 7:52 am by Bill Roberts

Some excerpts from an article in the February 12 edition of the Globe and Mail

“A growing number of governments and health experts are urging pharmaceutical companies to loosen their tight grip on their COVID-19 vaccine technology as the world struggles with a worsening shortage of the vaccines.

“The increasing talk of technology-sharing arrangements is fuelled by the extreme gap between wealthy and poor countries in vaccine supplies – a gap that could leave the virus circulating in much of the world for years, triggering the creation of dangerous new variants.

“So far, more than three-quarters of vaccinations have occurred in 10 of the world’s biggest and richest economies, while almost 130 countries have yet to administer a single dose. At the current pace of vaccine deliveries, much of the developing world will be unable to immunize the majority of their populations until 2023 or 2024….

“The World Trade Organization [has proposed] a temporary waiver of intellectual property rules for vaccines and other COVID-19 products during the pandemic [so that vaccines can be produced generically]. About 100 countries are supporting the waiver. Canada, however, has joined a relatively small number of higher-income countries that have declined to support the plan.

“Christelle Chartrand, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, insisted that Canada is not opposing the idea of a waiver… In practice, however, Canada’s stance means that it is opposing the waiver, analysts say. They note that Canada had also ordered a higher proportion of vaccines, relative to its population, than any other country in the world.

“In many ways, it appears that Canada has chosen to be part of the problem, instead of the solution,” said Marc-André Gagnon, an associate professor in Carleton University’s public policy school who studies the pharmaceutical industry.