Trudeau Defends Taking Vaccine Doses Meant for Developing World

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Justin Trudeau defended Canada’s decision to take doses from a global vaccine alliance meant to support developing nations, as delivery delays cast doubt on his government’s inoculation timeline.

The prime minister reiterated that reduced shipments of shots from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. are temporary, saying the companies remain on track to deliver a combined 6 million doses by the end of March as promised.

Trudeau Defends Taking Vaccine Doses Meant for Developing World

To supplement those vaccines, Canada also plans on administering the one produced by AstraZeneca Plc. Pending approval by health authorities, Trudeau said the nation has exercised its option to draw 1.9 million doses of the shot from a World Health Organization initiative by the end of June.

“When wealthier countries invest in Covax, half of that funding is for doses at home and the other half is to buy doses for low- and middle-income countries,” the prime minister said Friday in Ottawa. “Our contribution was always intended to access vaccine doses for Canadians, as well as to support lower-income countries.”

Canada’s inoculations have been going slower than those of its Group of Seven peers. As of Thursday, it had administered 2.7 doses per 100 people compared to 16.5 in the U.K., 11.2 in the U.S., 3.4 in Germany and 2.8 in France, according to Bloomberg’s global tracker.

The doses that will be drawn from Covax this spring are in addition to the 20 million shots Canada has secured directly from Cambridge, U.K.-based AstraZeneca itself, Trudeau said.

“I want to reassure Canadians: we are on track,” he said. “We will get everyone vaccinated by September.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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