Minister Sajjan announces support for COVID-19 vaccination and health systems in Latin America and the Caribbean

News release

January 13, 2023 - Kingston, Jamaica - Global Affairs Canada

As the pandemic continues to evolve, it is critical to ensure high risk populations can access vaccines. In Latin America and the Caribbean, like in other regions, health systems continue to face significant challenges to deliver COVID-19 immunization and broader health services, while also enhancing preparedness for the future.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced a $45-million contribution to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) for the Latin America and Caribbean(LAC) Region and a $70-million contribution to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) globally as part of Canada’s signature Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE).

CanGIVE projects will support efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination by addressing barriers to vaccination for people in vulnerable situations, including women and girls, and reinforcing health systems throughout the region, with a specific focus on Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica. Canada’s partnership with UNICEF will support increased equitable distribution and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, and strengthened gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) efforts, primary health care and routine immunization services. Its partnership with PAHO aims to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination by supporting community engagement, health worker training and vaccine surveillance in the Americas.

There is still work to do to control the COVID-19 virus and move towards an inclusive, sustainable recovery. Canada remains committed to working with Latin America and the Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, through our partnerships with PAHO and UNICEF to increase access to vaccines and be better prepared to address any future global health crises.


“We know that ultimately, vaccines do not do any good sitting in vials. It takes a health system to turn a vaccine into a vaccination. That’s why we’re working with our partners to help ensure vaccines reach those who need them the most.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • Canada’s CanGIVE funding to PAHO will increase access to COVID-19 vaccination by strengthening health systems and supporting health information systems and digital platforms for COVID-19 vaccine surveillance in the LAC Region. Canada's contribution will also support research to build evidence on COVID-19 vaccination uptake and engage communities to address gender-related barriers to vaccine confidence.  

  • Canada’s support to UNICEF for CanGIVE programming will expand and integrate digital COVID-19 vaccination tools within routine immunization, engage high-risk and priority groups to understand and address localized and gender-related barriers to vaccination, as well as reinforce childhood vaccination. Canada’s funding will also support cold chain training and upgrades and strengthen gender-sensitive WASH efforts.

  • The contribution announced today is part of the $732 million in multilateral funding for the ACT-Accelerator, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 12, 2022, during the second virtual Global COVID-19 Summit.

  • On June 22, 2022, Canada announced $200 million in funding for a new signature initiative, Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE), aimed at supporting vaccine delivery and distribution in 12 countries including Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica, as well as to the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region more broadly. Today’s announcement brings the CanGIVE program to a total of $275 million. 

  • Canada has been an ally to countries in LAC since the beginning of the pandemic. In May 2021, Canada provided $50 million to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to support PAHO’s critical work in LAC to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for at-risk women, migrants, refugees, transient persons, Indigenous and vulnerable populations in areas where health conditions are typically precarious. 

  • With Canada’s support, PAHO was able to provide vaccine procurement and deliveries, comprehensive technical assistance, cold-chain equipment and comprehensive health communication. Canada contributed to PAHO’s Revolving Fund efforts, which facilitated the delivery of 125 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 33 countries as part of the COVAX Facility.

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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