International Development Secretary Harjit Sajjan has said he wants the World Health Organization to give the green light for the Medicago COVID-19 dose so it can be donated and used by the COVAX Vaccine Sharing Alliance.
But he says Canada’s ability to get more doses out to lower-income countries depends mostly on getting reassurance they can use, and it will be used when they are dispatched.
The World Health Organization halted prequalification of the Medicago vaccine last week due to its association with Marlboro cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris International.
Mariangela Simao, the WHO’s assistant director-general for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, said the syringe was “quite likely” not to be approved for emergency use because of the company’s ties to the tobacco industry.
Canada promises to donate at least 200 million doses by the end of the year, but only 15 million have been delivered so far.
Less than 2 million doses have been shipped this year and Sagan says more could be moved once recipient countries indicate they are ready.
Watch | Importance of Canada’s first domestic COVID-19 vaccine (December 7, 2021):
On paper, Canada should have approximately 100 million additional doses available for donation that were purchased for Canadians that could not be used here.
But half of the Novavax vaccine that Canada has yet to confirm will be donated, and 20 million comes from Medicago, which can only be donated if the World Health Organization has approved approval for that vaccine despite the company’s ties to Big Tobacco.
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