Canada has delivered about one-quarter of the vaccine doses it has promised to less wealthy countries and can’t say when more doses will go out the door.
In 2021, Canada promised to donate 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from its own contracts and at least 150 million more through financial contributions to the COVAX vaccine sharing alliance.
To date, Canada has donated 12.7 million direct doses and $545 million in cash to buy 87 million more.
COVAX says it cannot yet report specifics on the doses purchased because it’s still negotiating prices with vaccine makers.
Canada’s promise was that all doses and cash donations would be delivered by the end of 2022, but critics — including World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — say countries like Canada have been hoarding vaccines at the expense of poorer nations.
“Ending health inequity remains the key to ending the pandemic,” Tedros said in late December. Throughout 2021, experts warned that the more the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads, the faster it will mutate, potentially giving rise to a new variant that will evade vaccines already given.
That risk became reality in November with the discovery of Omicron, a variant with so many mutations it is causing millions of infections in fully vaccinated individuals.
While the vaccines appear to be doing well against severe disease, the explosion in new cases has still stressed hospitals and sent Canadians back into the lockdowns and school closures they had hoped were behind them.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told The Canadian Press during a year-end interview in December, that Canada was “continuing to do more than our share” on vaccine donations.
“As people know, unfortunately, Canada no longer has a capacity to produce vaccines in our country so we don’t have a domestic production that we can direct towards the world,” he said.
“But what we are doing with the contracts and the vaccine supply we have secured from other countries is send those vaccines that we purchased, that we paid for, that we’re not going to be using, to the world.”
Adam Houston, medical policy and advocacy officer at Doctors Without Borders Canada, said Canada is pulling its weight when it comes to monetary donations but can’t say the same about vaccine donations.
He said Canada needs to put the same kind of pressure on the companies to deliver doses for donation as it did to speed up deliveries to Canada last year.
“When these doses have been meant for Canadian arms, Canada has frequently been able to move up the delivery of these doses,” he said.
“Somehow, when the exact same doses from the exact same contracts are going elsewhere, we don’t seem to be having the same pounding on the table to make sure that the doses are getting to other people.”
Vaccination rates lagging
He also noted Canada allowed more than 10 million doses to sit in a federal stockpile for months, and almost as many in provincial freezers, instead of shipping them to places where they could be used immediately.
“These doses could have been saving lives months and months ago,” he said.
Canada turned to that stockpile in December when Omicron hit and booster campaigns took off.
But Canada already had signed contracts with Pfizer and Moderna to deliver 65 and 35 million booster doses in 2022, and is also still owed at least 17 million doses from its 2021 contracts with Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — vaccines Canadians decided they didn’t want.
COVAX hoped to deliver two billion doses to low and middle-income nations by the end of 2021 but managed less than half of that because of slow donations from wealthy countries and delays to deliveries directly from vaccine makers.
The WHO’s target was to vaccinate 40 per cent of the population in every country by Dec. 31, but more than 90 countries missed that mark.
At least 36 countries didn’t even get to 10 per cent. The new goal is 70 per cent by July.
There is hope there will be more doses available in 2022 to ease the supply crunch, with more vaccines ready for approval, including Novavax.
Canada has a contract to buy 52 million doses of that vaccine and Houston said it needs to move quickly to donate all of them.
Global jobs recovery delayed by pandemic uncertainty, Omicron, ILO says
The global job market will take longer to recover than previously thought, with unemployment set to remain above pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2023 due to uncertainty about the pandemic’s course and duration, the International Labour Organization said in a report on Monday.
The U.N. agency estimates the equivalent of around 52 million fewer jobs in 2022 versus pre-COVID levels, which amounts to about double its previous estimate from June 2021.
Disruptions are set to continue into 2023 when there will still be around 27 million fewer jobs, it said, warning of a “slow and uncertain” recovery in its World Employment and Social Outlook report for 2022.
“The global labour market outlook has deteriorated since the ILO’s last projections; a return to pre-pandemic performance is likely to remain elusive for much of the world over the coming years,” the report said.
Director-General Guy Ryder told journalists that there were numerous factors behind its revision, saying the “primary one is the continuing pandemic and its variants, notably Omicron.”
The speed of recovery varies across regions, with the European and North American regions showing the most encouraging signs and Southeast Asia and South America lagging behind, according to the report.
Still, the projected deficit in working hours this year represents an improvement over the past two years. In 2021, the ILO estimates there were some 125 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels and in 2020, 258 million fewer.
Overall, around 207 million people are estimated to be unemployed in 2022. However, the report said that the impact would be significantly greater since many people have left the labour force and have yet to return.
Among those are a high number of women https://www.reuters.com/markets/funds/gender-equality-takes-one-step-forward-three-back-during-covid-2021-12-02, often because they have been drawn into unpaid work at home such as teaching children during school closures or caring for sick family members.
The report predicted that the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women’s employment would narrow in the coming years but that a “sizeable gap” would remain.
“There are some anecdotal indications that they are not coming back in the same numbers and in the same portions as men are doing which would lead to concerns that a ‘Long COVID’ effect on gender at work would be a negative one,” said Ryder.
Others who have left the workforce have done so voluntarily as part of a phenomenon some economists call “the great resignation”. Ryder said this appeared to be more prominent in areas of the economy such as health and care giving.
“We do need to look again and to invest further in those areas of economic activity,” he said.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Chizu Nomiyama)
Black and Racialized Artists, Musicians and Producers Join Forces For THE FREEDOM MARCHING PROJECT
January 2022/Toronto, ON — Rufus John, award-winning Black Caribbean-Canadian R&B/ Soul singer & songwriter is gearing up to release the single, Freedom Marching (Part I). The song will be available for pre-order on January 10th, 2022 and will be featured on the 3-song EP, The Freedom Marching Project, which is slated to be released on February 4th, 2022.
In support of the release of the EP, the project will also consist of; two official music videos, one in-studio performance video, a Call-To-Action Commercial, a Behind the Scenes Docuseries and a website that will feature resources and information for those who are willing to watch, listen and learn to then #JoinTheMarch.
The Freedom Marching Project founded by John, was inspired by the thousands of people who had the courage to use their voice to take action by marching through streets all over the world shouting, “Black Lives Matter!” in what is hailed as the most significant civil rights movement of our generation. The goals of the Project are to use the creative power of Art, Education and Activism to; honor the community leaders who are fighting daily on the frontlines for equity, access, diversity, participation, and rights for Black, Indigenous, racialized communities, to shed light on the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous & Racialized communities and to provide resources and information to those who want to Stay Informed, Get Connected and Take Action.
John’s own music tells life stories of his past. A certified youth worker and mentor, John’s goal is to bring to the fore-front, deeply embedded issues experienced by the youth he helps and to inspire those who want to do more, to listen, to learn and join the movement. John’s mandate has always been to not just connect but to engage. John’s patience & commitment comes from his own experiences & mistakes and the people that helped him. Walking alongside the youth he mentors is not only necessary for their journey but for his. Being in for the long term is important. Showing up is key.
John used his connections within the music industry to bring together some Juno & Grammy award winners & nominees to lend their voices and talents to this special project. Collectively the talented group is called, United Artists 4 change and the ensemble features over 40 Black and Racialized Artists, Musicians and Producers from around Canada. The EP was produced by Da-Rell Clifton, vocally produced by Gary McAuley, Rufus John & Darren Hamilton, and mixed/mastered by Dan Brodbeck. Some of the artists involved are: JRDN, Carlos Morgan, D.O, Chad Price, Dan-e-o, Owen “O Sound” Lee, Dwayne Morgan, Quisha Wint, Jason Simmons (Vocal Paint), The McAuley Boys, Nefe, Clair Davis, Aphrose, D/Shon and The Waterloo Region Mass Choir.
The Freedom Marching Project has partnered with Community leader Selam Debs & the initiative Parents of Black Children. A Go Fund Me page has been set up where people can donate for the month of February and all the proceeds raised via Go Fund Me will be evenly distributed between The Freedom Marching Project and our partners who are combating racism, oppression and discrimination within the current systems and communities.
Jan 10th: Pre save/order Freedom Marching (Part I)
Jan 17th: Docuseries Ep.1
Jan 21st: Docuseries Ep. 2
Jan 26th: Docuseries Ep. 3
Jan 28th: Freedom Marching (Part I) Release
Feb 1st: In Studio Music Video Release
Feb 4th: Full EP Release
Feb 11th & 12th: Music Videos Release
Connect with The Freedom Marching Project:
Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@freedommarchingproject
** Talent available for interviews
Sasha Stoltz Publicity & Management:Sasha Stoltz | Sasha@sashastoltzpublicity.com | 416.579.4804
National Gaming on Capital Hill
This past January 13th, The US Supreme Court issued two rulings blocking an Occupational Safety and Health Administrations COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for employers who have 100 or more employees, while allowing a separate rule which applies to healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal funds.
The 6-3 decision blocked OSHA and other organizations from imposing any such rule. While the OSHA made every effort to enforce temporary emergency standards in its massive organization, it seems the influence and legal pressure applied by both Labor and Corporations to end this attempt to have 84 million workers get COVID-19 vaccinations was too much for the administration.
The Supreme court directed organizations and corporations with more than 100 employees to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with exceptions for employees that instead are required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face mask at work.
While many corporations and manufacturers did enforce OSHA rules and carry out the needed mass vaccinations, the problem arose that such an organization such as OSHA had never issued such a mandate, and Congress had declined to enact any measure similar to OSHA’s. What do we have here folks? A governmental organization trying to carry out what the Biden Administration has asked to be done in America. The vaccines are available, but a large portion of America remains unvaccinated.
Instead of issuing a Presidential Executive Order declaring an emergency, the Administration has directed a few organizations to do so that they can wait and see if such a mandate will be accepted and approved by the population, labor, and business sectors. Perhaps it is the way this is being done that is the problem for The Supreme court, or the Republican friendly conservative of the court simply outnumber the liberal members. Politics as usual. Ineffectual, unworkable politics where no matter the issue, the Republicans will block any Democratic Administration’s attempt to protect America.
A nation divided, even when the lives of many are at stake. American media makes the storming of the Capital on Jan 6th seem like an emergency, an insurrection of serious substance while the Republicans on the Capital, block in every way possible any attempt to save lives through public safety and health mandates. Remember how the Republican strategy to make Obama Administration seem ineffectual by blocking all legislative efforts? The same Republicans are repeating this strategy with the Biden Administration. A sports analogy whereby one blocks constantly until your opponent makes a mistake and fumbles. While the lives of millions are threatened by COVID-19 these Republicans play games with the nation. Americans are feeling stressed, hopeless, and fearful of their future and yet their elected officials cannot work together to accomplish anything, except perhaps giving themselves a wage increase. Have those on Capital Hill forgotten who they represent?
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