The world recently witnessed a massive step forward in the fight against COVID-19 as the first COVID-19 vaccinations were administered around the globe. High-income countries represent just 14 per cent of the world’s population and they have purchased more than 53 per cent of COVID-19 vaccines, which will be enough to vaccinate their entire population almost three times over by the end of 2021. As a result, nearly 67 developing countries will only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people against COVID-19 unless action is taken by governments to ensure enough doses are distributed to low-income countries.
Canada tops the list as officials have ordered enough vaccines to vaccinate each Canadian several times over. People in low-income countries risk missing out on a vaccine that can save their lives because of the country they are living in. It should not have to be this way. Unless something significantly changes, billions of people living in developing nations will not receive a COVID-19 vaccine for many years. In addition to increasing illness and deaths in those countries, the economic damage could be more long-lasting, pushing many residents to extreme poverty. Canadians need to extend their compassion to people living in developing nations by pushing to help them have access to more COVID-19 vaccines.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many leaders belonging to the other G20 countries promised that they will support developing countries in accessing COVID-19 vaccinations. Also, Canada agreed to suspend debt collection from poorer countries to help them have more funding to purchase COVID-19 treatments and equipment. Despite these actions, access to COVID-19 vaccinations continues to be a persistent issue amongst low-income countries.
Therefore, I strongly believe it is crucial Canada invests at least one per cent of its COVID-19 response budget towards new and additional global aid to help end the pandemic everywhere. Ending COVID-19 everywhere is critical because we are living in an interconnected world and no one will be safe until everyone is safe.