Canadian leadership on global vaccines will save millions and is critical to our COVID-19 response

By: Hamish McPherson Published: 12/05/2020

On May 12, 2020 the Canadian Government announced that it will commit CAD $600 million over 5 years to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and CAD $190 million over 4 years for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).  These investments will be critical in helping Gavi and GPEI achieve their routine immunization goals as well as helping to ensure an effective global COVID-19 response.

“Gavi is on the front lines of the battle to beat back COVID-19 and is also key to containing the pandemic’s collateral damage. These investments are investments in health workers, in stronger health systems and in lives saved,” said Chris Dendys, Executive Director of Results Canada.

With Canada’s support, Gavi will be able to vaccinate another 300 million children, helping to save 7-8 million lives, while GPEI will push for the complete eradication of polio, an effort that has meant 18 million more people are able to walk rather than be paralyzed.

In the midst of a global pandemic, that will undoubtedly hit the poorest the hardest, we are heartened to see such a strong commitment from the Minister of International Development Karina Gould.  This announcement shows a clear commitment to Canada’s legacy of leadership in global health and an understanding that our collective prosperity requires that we leave no one behind.

These investments in Gavi and GPEI will be crucial in shoring up already overburdened health systems to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure an equitable rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready. Just as importantly, these organizations will continue to provide vaccines to those who need it most in order to avoid the very real threat of opportunistic outbreaks of devastating diseases like measles and polio.

Today’s commitment comes after an inspiring 6 months of campaigning by Results Canada volunteers.  These volunteers have shown that Canadians care and will continue to even when their own lives have been thrown into chaos. Through their organizing, they published over 70 Letters to the Editor (LTEs) and Op-Eds in newspapers across Canada, engaged with dozens of Members of Parliament, and made their support known to Canadian decision makers. Today’s investment shows the power of our collective voices. When we speak up, we help drive the political will to building a healthier world, one where all children have access to life-saving vaccines.

We hope that Canada’s commitment today will send a clear message of global solidarity to build a healthier, equitable, and more resilient world for all. We also hope this announcement will encourage other donors to commit to a fully funded Gavi replenishment and to ensuring that GPEI has the resources they need to continue the fight for a polio free world.

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