Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is committed to ensuring equitable access to medical treatments for those suffering from COVID-19 around the world. (Global Citizen/CBC News)

Ottawa pledges $300 million to global fight against COVID-19

Canada is committing $300 million to the international effort to fight COVID-19 and to making sure countries around the world will have access to a vaccine when one is developed.

Prime Minister Trudeau made the announcement on Saturday at a virtual fundraiser sponsored by the anti-poverty advocacy group Global Citizen, which seeks to raise $42.8 billion toward the development and fair distribution of an eventual vaccine against the virus.

So far, Global Citizen has received $9.5 billion in pledges.

“We’re also committed to working with countries around the world on how we can pool procurement efforts to make sure all countries have access to the vaccine,” Trudeau said. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Big Rig Brewery amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada, he said, will contribute $180 million to address the immediate humanitarian and development impacts of the pandemic and will contribute $120 million towards a new initiative called the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

The ACT Accelerator was created in April by the World Health Organization, the French government, the European Commission and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It supports organizations, health professionals and businesses in their efforts to develop a vaccine, as well as drug therapies and diagnostic tools to battle the pandemic.

Trudeau said the pandemic has hit vulnerable populations especially hard, and the ACT Accelerator will ensure that when a vaccine is found, it will be able to reach all the people who need it.

With files from The Canadian Press (Mike Blanchfield)

Categories: Health, Society
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