Canada has defended its decision to draw on a supply of coronavirus vaccines from a global inoculation-sharing initiative.

The global inoculation-sharing initiative Covax recently announced a plan to pools funds from wealthier countries to help buy more than 330 million vaccine doses for themselves and low-income nations in the first half of 2021.


Canada, which has vaccinated 2.29% of its population with one dose, including 48% of health workers, is the only member of the G7 group of rich countries listed as a Covax beneficiary at this stage.


Aside from Covax, Canada has struck agreements for 398 million doses—more than enough to cover the country’s population of 37 million.


In an interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC News, International Development Minister, Karina Gould, was asked why the country decided to access Covax vaccines now.


“Our top priority is to ensure Canadians have access to vaccines,” the minister said. “Covax’s objective is to provide vaccines for 20% of the populations of all member states, both self-financing and those who will receive donations.


“Canada made the decision, as other countries have, to take on this first allocation because we recognize how important it is that all Canadians have access to vaccines.”


The Canadian government has come under pressure to speed up vaccinations after delays.