Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Monday, May 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Trudeau takes part in COVID-19 virtual pledging conference led by EU

Justin Trudeau highlighted that Canada has already promised $850 million towards the international effort

Canada joined countries around the world Monday in an international pledging conference sponsored by the European Union to raise more than $11 billion for long-term COVID-19 vaccine research.

The goal is to make sure a viable vaccine becomes available and affordable for all countries, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

In his address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted that Canada has already promised $850 million towards the international effort to fight the spread of the pandemic.

When asked why Canada didn’t offer new money today, he said the event was “only the beginning” in the effort to find, manufacture and distribute a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

“We know that the safety of our own citizens depends on how we keep people around the world safe,” Trudeau said at the conference that took place online Monday.

“We need to take care of ourselves by taking care of the rest of the world.”

READ MORE: 7.3M Canadians have received CERB, as wage subsidy pays salaries for another 1.7M: feds

Trudeau also spoke with Bill and Melinda Gates last week about the need to support the event and to promote co-operation in developing and distributing a vaccine — and not just to those in wealthy countries.

The Gates Foundation is one of the leading international players in the search for a vaccine.

Last week, one of its senior executives said events such as the pledging conference are only the start of raising money for an effort that could cost upwards of $20 billion.

Like Canada, other countries are trying to develop a vaccine formula or treatment that will allow the world to stop the pandemic and return to a state of normalcy.

But discovering a viable vaccine won’t be enough to prevent future outbreaks, said the head of the World Health Organization.

“The true measure of success will not only be how fast we can develop safe and effective tools – it will be how equally we can distribute them,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

“The potential for continued waves of infection of COVID-19 across the globe demands that every single person on the planet be protected from this disease.”

Countries are already working together to pool research and data to help in the development of a vaccine, and work has already begun to plot out a way to manufacture a viable formula on a worldwide scale, according to Canada’s health minister.

“It is almost like a race, but a race where you want everyone to be able to cross the finish line at once,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said at a briefing Monday.

She said that while every country wants to find a way to vaccine their own citizens against the virus, everyone in the world will be at risk until a vaccine is made available worldwide.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEuropean UnionJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse native Elias joins Michigan-Dearborn Wolverines

Johnny Elias played for the Fernie Ghostriders this past season

EDITORIAL: Editor bids farewell

Editor Paige Mueller will be leaving The Free Press team at the end of July

Aislinn Dressler competes in 2020 Youth Innovation Showcase

Dressler was a finalist at the showcase, exhibiting her energy efficient fridge design

Stories decorate city pathways for new reading initiative

The Fernie Women’s Resource Centre began the initiative in support of the local early years community

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Feds fund $2M for habitat conservation in the Kootenays

Kootenay Connect program to protect habitat for species at risk in four areas in the region

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

400 gardeners receive free seeds courtesy of Kootenay Food

A variety of seeds were delivered, which included carrots, beans, kale and peas

Interior Health expands COVID-19 testing access in Kelowna

First-come, first-serve, no-appointment-needed testing centre opens in downtown Kelowna

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Most Read