OTTAWA — The federal government has announced it will send more than 82,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Trinidad and Tobago.
International Development Minister Karina Gould said in a release Wednesday that Trinidad and Tobago was selected to receive the excess doses that had already arrived in Canada based on need and the country’s capacity to deploy them immediately.
Gould said the doses will be delivered in the coming days and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago will manage the administration of the vaccines in accordance with manufacturing guidelines and public health best practices.
Last month, the federal government said it would donate nearly 18 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to poorer countries.
At the time, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said after talking to the provinces, the federal government determined these vaccine doses were excess supply, as demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine had been met.
She said Canada would donate 17.7 million doses that were supposed to flow into Canada from the United States through an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca and that they would be made available to lower-income countries through the global vaccine-sharing alliance COVAX.
In her statement Wednesday, Gould said vaccinating the world against COVID-19 continues to be the best strategy to end the pandemic.
"By redirecting excess doses we do not need here in Canada, we are supporting global efforts to fight this virus, and ensuring vaccines get to those in need," she said. "Canadians know that no one is safe until everyone is safe."
At the G7 meeting in June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that Canada would give back at least 13 million doses it was set to receive through a contract with COVAX, on top of millions of dollars already set aside for the global vaccine effort.
Global Affairs Canada said Trinidad and Tobago is a key partner for Canada, with more than 100,000 Canadians with connections to the country, and many thousands of Trinbagonians with connections to Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2021
The Canadian Press