Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply and donation strategy
Thanks to a robust vaccine supply strategy, Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Our supply strategy also accounted for the potential to donate surplus doses to other countries in need, helping to vaccinate people around the world.
On this page
- Procuring vaccines for Canada
- Managing Canada’s supply
- Canada’s role in helping to vaccinate the world
- Canada’s international vaccine distribution
Procuring vaccines for Canada
When the pandemic started, it was not known which vaccines would be successful or when they would be available. Experts therefore advised Canada to secure many different types of vaccines.
To secure fast access to vaccines for everyone in the country, we set up advance purchase agreements (APAs) with 7 manufacturers:
- Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline
- Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
APAs have the obligations of a contract, but are more flexible in structure. This flexibility was needed given the uncertainties around when new vaccines would be developed. Having APAs meant that we could purchase vaccines that didn't yet exist.
The agreements with the vaccine manufacturers also required initial investments to support vaccine research and development, testing and manufacturing.
By signing memorandums of understanding with international sources, Canada was also able to access an early supply of the first vaccines available. We also looked for ways to secure quicker deliveries of approved vaccines.
Our strategy worked, giving people in Canada early access to safe and effective vaccines. We were among the first countries to start vaccinating and we now have one of the highest coverage rates in the world.
We continue to make sure that Canada is prepared to manage COVID-19 and its possible evolutions. To date, Canada has also secured vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and Medicago for 2022 and 2023, with options to extend into 2024.
These agreements provide flexibility to obtain new second-generation COVID-19 vaccines developed by vaccine suppliers once they are authorized for use by Health Canada.
All vaccines require Health Canada authorization before they’re used to vaccinate anyone in Canada.
Managing Canada’s supply
We manage our COVID-19 vaccine supply strategically based on:
- the most recent scientific data, including regulatory decisions and guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)
- the needs of provinces and territories, who are responsible for vaccine administration programs
- the identification of surplus doses that can be offered for international donations
To maximize the use of Canada’s vaccine supply, we also:
- coordinate transfers of doses between provinces and territories to move vaccines to where they are needed most
- work with manufacturer to schedule deliveries for when and where they are needed the most
- monitor for the possibility of shelf-life extensions
- offer vaccines surplus to our domestic needs for global donations, with as much shelf-life as possible
This approach ensures that we have enough vaccine supply for people in Canada to stay up-to-date on their vaccines, including boosters. It also ensures that Canada has sufficient supply in country to mobilize a large-scale vaccination campaign if needed. And it enables us to provide vaccines to other countries in need around the world.
Despite all of these efforts, there will be wastage if doses expire before they’re used or donated. Expired doses will be disposed of in accordance with appropriate handling and storage guidelines.
Canada’s role in helping to vaccinate the world
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound global impact, especially on vulnerable populations.
Women and children who already experience poverty, exclusion and/or marginalization more severely are especially impacted. As a part of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, our response includes a particular focus on supporting:
- the different needs of women and girls
- the world’s poorest and most marginalized people
- education, health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health and rights
Providing access to vaccination for all peoples is one of the most effective ways of controlling the virus.
Promoting vaccine equity
Canada has committed over $3.4 billion in international assistance in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. This includes over $1.1 billion to the Access to COVID‑19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator vaccine pillar:
- $840 million for the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility to procure, deliver and distribute COVID-19 vaccines
- $315 million to other partners within the pillar to support vaccine research, development and manufacturing
Vaccinating the world
Canada is working to ensure the world has access to COVID-19 vaccines by:
- investing in COVAX
- donating our surplus doses
- supporting the delivery and distribution of vaccines
- includes efforts to increase local demand and regional production capacity
Canada is on track to meet our commitment to donate the equivalent of 200 million doses by the end of 2022. So far, we have donated the equivalent of more than 140 million doses. As well, we continue to allocate donations mainly through the COVAX Facility on an ad hoc basis according to country demand. This includes over 50 million doses deemed surplus from Canada’s domestic supply and donated to COVAX, as well as more than 3 million doses donated directly to countries through bilateral agreements.
Canada has also made financial contributions to COVAX to purchase and deliver the equivalent of 87 million vaccines doses to low- and middle-income countries. We will fulfill the balance of our commitment through investments in international vaccine-related activities funded from Budget 2022 and future donations of doses.
With vaccine supply no longer the key constraint in combatting COVID-19 around the world, it is now critical to turn vaccines into vaccinations. This is why, on June 22, 2022, Canada announced $200 million in funding for a new signature initiative. Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE) is designed to support vaccine delivery and distribution in 13 countries, most of them in Africa.
How the COVAX Facility Works
Canada is committed to sharing our surplus vaccine supply through the COVAX Facility to ensure an equitable and efficient allocation to the countries who need them most. In some circumstances, we also shared doses directly with recipient countries through bilateral agreements.
The COVAX Facility uses the World Health Organization (WHO)’s fair allocation method to provide all vaccine doses to recipient countries. This ensures that the doses reach the populations who need them most. The Facility communicates directly with countries to confirm they are able to accept and administer doses before they expire. As a donor, Canada is not involved in this allocation process.
Placing surplus doses through the COVAX Facility depends on:
- available supply with sufficient shelf life
- collaboration with manufacturers
- capacity of recipient countries to administer the vaccines and
- agreements between the COVAX Facility and partner organizations
Global vaccine supply increased rapidly in late 2021 and into 2022. The result is that many low- and lower-income countries now have more doses than they can administer before the doses expire. Given this current global imbalance, it’s inevitable there will also be some wastage.
Canada remains committed to support removing barriers to international vaccine distribution so that everyone may be immunized against COVID-19.
Canada’s international vaccine distribution
Canada is on track to meet our commitment to donate the equivalent of 200 million doses by the end of 2022. So far, we have donated the equivalent of more than 140 million doses, including 50 million doses deemed surplus from Canada’s domestic supply. As of September 5, 2022, over 21.7 million of the 50 million surplus doses Canada has donated to COVAX have been delivered to countries.
We have also shared more than 3.76 million vaccine doses through direct, bilateral agreements with countries.
The following table shows the countries that have received surplus doses donated by Canada, either through COVAX or through bilateral agreements. The table only accounts for Canada's surplus vaccine doses. It does not include dose equivalents resulting from Canada's financial contribution to COVAX.
Use filters to below options to change the focus of your results in following data table
|Country||Number of doses shipped||Date delivered||Vaccine manufacturer||Mechanism||Shipped from|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||20,000||2021-08-24||AstraZeneca||Bilateral agreement||Canada|
|Trinidad and Tobago||82,030||2021-08-04||AstraZeneca||Bilateral agreement||Canada|
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