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Ottawa: Canada is about to throw away about 13.6 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine because it has not found any recipients at home or abroad. Canada signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to get 20 million doses of its vaccine in 2020, and 2.3 million Canadians received at least one dose, mostly between March and June 2021.
After concerns about rare but potentially malignant blood clots in AstraZeneca in the spring of 2021, Canada focused on using an adequate supply of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. In July 2021, Canada pledged to donate the rest of its purchased supplies, about 17.7 million doses. But in a statement Tuesday, Health Canada said that despite trying to fulfill those promises, 13.6 million doses have expired and will have to be discarded. “Due to the limited demand for vaccines and the challenges of the recipient country with distribution and exploitation, have they not been accepted?” The statement said.
Overall, Canada donated 8.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine – 4.8 million doses from its main supply and 4.1 million doses it purchased from the COVAX vaccine-sharing program. About 85 percent of Canadians are considered fully vaccinated, compared to 61 percent of the world’s population, and only 16 percent live in the world’s poorest countries.
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