Canada will donate up to 10M additional doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines — also known as the Janssen vaccine — internationally, the federal government announced Wednesday.
“I am pleased to announce that Canada will share an additional 10 million doses of the Janssen vaccine for distribution to low and middle-income countries,” Minister of International Development Karina Gould told reporters during a press conference.
The donation brings Canada’s total donations to the COVAX facility to over 40 million COVID-19 doses, making the country one of the leaders in vaccine donation per capita.
“We can be proud that 40M doses is the equivalent to a dose donated from every Canadian to somebody else in the world that also needs to get vaccinated,” she added.
Health Canada authorized the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in early March but is has never been used in the country.
The only shipment for 330,000 doses delivered in late April was held in quarantine for months because of concerns of possible tainting at a production facility in Baltimore.
Health Canada ultimately determined the doses couldn’t be verified and returned them to the company.
Now, with a surplus of vaccines from other manufacturers, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will redirect its Johnson and Johnson shots to countries in need.
“Our approach throughout the past year is why Canada is in a position to continue to share millions of doses of vaccine with the world. To date, Canada has directly donated more than 30 million doses to the COVAX initiative,” Anand said.
“This donation is on top of the $2.5 billion dollars in financial support that Canada has committed to international efforts to combat COVID-19 and Canada’s support for the developing world will continue going forward,” she added.
— with files from The Canadian Press