Canada Canada needs more help with COVID-19, prominent U.S. vaccine expert urges White House
COVID protocol-related absences: 04/25
Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today’s list: Calgary – Josh Leivo Colorado – Joonas Donskoi, Mikko Rantanen New Jersey – P.K.Calgary – Josh Leivo
WASHINGTON — A prominent Texas doctor says the United States has a moral obligation to help get more Canadians get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert and a familiar face to cable news viewers in both countries, says the U.S. has more than enough capacity to expand its largely successful vaccination efforts beyond its borders, including in Canada.
In an interview Monday with The Canadian Press, Hotez said he had assumed — like a lot of Americans — that Canada had essentially been keeping pace with the U.S. in terms of getting its citizens the protection they need.
COVID protocol-related absences: 04/27/21
Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today’s list: Anaheim – Adam Henrique Calgary – Josh Leivo Montreal – TBA New Jersey – P.K.Anaheim – Adam Henrique
Then he looked at the numbers.
"I was really astonished — only about a third of the country has received a single dose, and essentially no one's gotten fully vaccinated," said Hotez, who is dean of the school of tropical medicine at Baylor University in Houston.
"I can't believe the U.S. is not out there helping, given that the amount of doses we would have to provide is relatively modest ... (and) oblivious to the fact that it's in our own enlightened self-interest to do it."
Hotez called it "ridiculous" to think that transmission of the virus would be stopped by vaccinating Detroit without vaccinating Windsor, Ont., which is just across the Ambassador Bridge on the other side of the Detroit River.
And Canada's roughly 38 million people represent a fraction of the 332 million people in the U.S., a "rounding error" in terms of the number of vaccine doses it would require, he added.
Canada is holding back its 1-shot J&J COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what you need to know
Health Canada on Friday said that they were holding back 300,000 doses of the one-shot J&J vaccine — mere days before they were meant to be deployed.On Friday, Health Canada announced it is holding back the J&J vaccine, a one-shot dose that experts and health officials touted as crucial in stemming the spread of the virus amid a devastating third wave of the pandemic, after it was revealed that parts of the batch were made in the same Baltimore plant where millions of other doses meant for the U.S. market had spoiled.
"The point is, there are emotional reasons to do it and pragmatic reasons to do it."
Canada, however, is not the only country that needs help.
Mexico, which also shares a U.S. border, is doing significantly worse than Canada at vaccinating its 130 million residents. And the searing tragedy of a fresh wave in India, along with mounting worry about Brazil, is putting the White House under increasing pressure to do more.
A growing chorus of international voices, including progressive lawmakers in the U.S., is calling on President Joe Biden to agree to a proposal before the World Trade Organization that would ease patent and intellectual property protections, allowing developing countries to accelerate their own vaccine-manufacturing efforts.
The powerful American pharmaceutical industry is opposed to such a move, fearing an existential threat to a profitable business model.
Vaccine envy: Why can't Canada make COVID-19 doses at home?
Canada's domestic vaccine manufacturing capability has been hollowed out, leaving the country entirely dependent on foreign sources for COVID-19 vaccines. What happened?Canada's domestic vaccine manufacturing capability has been hollowed out, leaving the country entirely dependent on foreign sources for the doses that promise an eventual return to normal life.
"We are at war with the virus, and yet what we are seeing is war profiteering; we're seeing that profits are being put over people," U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, told a panel discussion Tuesday.
"The World Health Organization has said that there's been a billion vaccine doses distributed, but just 0.3 per cent of those doses have gone to poor and developing countries. And that is just totally unacceptable."
Schakowsky and others are backing a bid by India and South Africa for a waiver to a 27-year-old WTO agreement that essentially protects pharmaceutical trade secrets, a movement that has been gradually gaining steam in recent weeks.
Brajendra Navnit, India's ambassador to the WTO, made an impassioned plea Tuesday for the so-called TRIPS waiver, insisting that the financial cost of sharing the information would be recovered tenfold in the resulting economic recovery.
"Anyone thinking India's example has shown that ... we are saved by vaccinating their own population, it is not going to happen," Navnit said.
"We have seen that in measles, we have seen that in smallpox, we have seen recently in polio that only when you do global immunization, only then can you get rid of the virus."
ANALYSIS: By some measures, Ontario and Alberta lead in vaccine delivery
All provinces are under pressure to use up all the vaccine they're given but all have been relatively consistent in the percentage of doses they've held back.The discussion on that topic has appears to be loudest in Ontario where the premier, Doug Ford, has continually asked Ottawa for more vaccines for his province while Ford’s political opponents point out that province cannot even use up the tens of thousands of doses in freezers and other storage.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the no-one-is-safe-until-everyone-is-safe argument Tuesday but stopped short of saying whether Canada would vote to support the waiver proposal.
"I know the conversations around patent protections are ongoing and Canada is actively participating in them," Trudeau said.
"We understand how important it is to get vaccines to the most vulnerable around the world, and we will keep working for that."
Biden promised during the election campaign that the U.S. would share its vaccine manufacturing know-how, but has yet to make good on that promise, critics say.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai appeared to suggest Tuesday that the issue is very much on her mind.
"We are making real strides towards ending the pandemic, but I know we still have a lot of work ahead," Tai said in prepared remarks to the Washington Conference of the Americas.
"That includes making the vaccine widely available and addressing global inequity. This is not just a public health requirement. Our economic recovery depends on it."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.
James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Who have provinces pegged to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks? .
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. The military commander handling logistics for Canada's vaccine distribution program says there will be enough vaccine delivered to give a first dose before Canada Day to every adult who wants one. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says that's if provinces follow the advice to delay second doses up to four months. He also cautions that it is dependent on having no production delays again. Health Canada anticipates a total of 36.