As we near the two-year mark of this pandemic, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) believes that key tools such as vaccines are imperative to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 and help prevent new variants from taking hold. Working toward equitable access to vaccination on a global scale is an important step in bringing this goal closer to reality. The CMA is therefore encouraging the Government of Canada to further bolster its global vaccination efforts given the impact of the virus both at home and around the world.
“The lack of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines raises significant ethical concerns in addition to increasing the risk of new variants,” says Dr. Katharine Smart, president of the CMA. “Vaccines are critical to our exit from this pandemic. By protecting other countries, we’re protecting everyone, including Canadians.”
The CMA is grateful for the federal government’s commitments thus far, investing more than $2.5 billion to support the global response to COVID-19, including vaccination efforts, and pledging to contribute the equivalent of at least 200 million doses to COVAX by the end of 2022. In addition to supporting those measures, the CMA is calling on the federal government to help further accelerate global vaccination rates by:
- boosting Canada’s donation of vaccines to COVAX;
- taking a strong leadership role in supporting and building organizations’ capacity to deliver and administer vaccines on the ground in low- and middle-income countries; and
- in the longer term, enabling domestic vaccine production capacity to further expand Canada’s contribution to the global vaccine supply.
In a new Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of the CMA, three out of four Canadians agree that global vaccination efforts are essential to end the pandemic. Other findings include:
- 76% of Canadians agree that Canada has enough COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate all Canadians;
- 75% of Canadians agree that global efforts to vaccinate everyone in the world will help end the pandemic for Canadians;
- 77% of Canadians believe that the Government of Canada should donate vaccines to developing countries.
“We’re all exhausted by the spread of new variants, the impact of serious illness, repeated lockdowns and challenging public health measures," says Dr. Smart. “If we want to get out of this cycle, we must all do our part to protect our communities by getting vaccinated, following local public health guidance and supporting global vaccination efforts.”