COVID-19 vaccines: Canada urged to help poorer countries

An epidemiologist said Canada should help lead vaccination efforts abroad in order to prevent the next dangerous alternative and truly end the epidemic.

Ananya Banerjee, professor of epidemiology at McGill University and Department of Biostatistics, told CTVNews.ca in a video interview on Tuesday.

Some estimates put this number at over 3.5 billion people, which means that about 43 percent of the world has not yet received their first dose. She said the majority of this population lives in low-income countries, including some African countries and parts of Asia and Latin America.

Banerjee says more needs to be done to show Canadians that the shutdowns and restrictions they face here are directly related to allowing the virus to spread and mutate in other countries. Formidable obstacles to vaccination rates in low-income countries, she says, include strict intellectual property rights obligations that prevent these countries from making their own mRNA vaccines at reasonable cost, and their governments’ inability to negotiate with drug companies to deliver vaccines in the same way as wealthier countries.

While she says frontline workers and vulnerable groups need a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines, Banerjee says more action is needed to get doses to countries that did not receive the first vaccine.

Watch the full video above to learn more about what Banerjee says needs to be done.

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