Toronto, Ontario, May 27, 2021 - Today, 16 senior leaders from top Canadian companies and foundations, including Teck Resources Limited and Fairmount Foundation, released an Open Letter urging other business and philanthropic leaders across Canada to join them in supporting the largest, fastest immunization effort in history. The Open Letter, and donations from leaders across Canada, mark the launch of UNICEF Canada’s ‘#ShareTheHealth’ campaign.
UNICEF is co- leading the global efforts to address the urgent COVID-19 vaccine inequity and has an ambitious goal to deliver over two billion vaccines by the end of 2021. UNICEF is leveraging its expertise in the global procurement and distribution of vaccines to ensure health care workers, educators and those who care for children in 92 lower income countries are vaccinated as soon as possible.
Funds from #ShareTheHealth will directly support this target and will represent Canadian corporate and philanthropic leaders’ important contribution to help end the pandemic for all.
The Open Letter calls for urgent action, as UNICEF leads in the race against time to vaccinate as many people as possible in low and medium income countries before more variants emerge. The signatories reinforced this as a defining moment in history, where public and private sector collaboration can come together to ensure equitable vaccine access for everyone, everywhere.
David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, says: “COVID-19 is without doubt a child rights crisis - with knock-on effects of the pandemic threatening progress for an entire generation. We need urgent support from Canadians to help us ensure equitable distribution of vaccines across the world. I thank these business and philanthropic leaders for their generous contribution and leadership with this Open Letter, and I echo the call for others to join us and #ShareTheHealth to ensure safe, fast and equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments. Together, we are ensuring that we are vaccinating the most vulnerable globally so that we can begin to build a better future for children and their families left ever more vulnerable by the pandemic.”
The Open Letter and UNICEF’s #ShareTheHealth campaign called attention to the fact that:
- Only 0.3% of vaccinations globally have been administered in low income countries, leaving them far behind others, such as Canada, where 50% of Canadian adults have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
- COVID-19 is causing a global child survival crisis: a year on from the pandemic, progress has gone backwards across every key measure of childhood. Poverty rates have increased for the first time in decades, food insecurity has risen, crucial childhood vaccination programs such as polio and measles have been halted, and over half a billion children are still out of school.
- Two thirds of Canadians believe that Canada should be leading the effort to ensure lower-income countries have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
- This will be the largest, fastest immunization program in history, as UNICEF look to vaccinate 20% of the world's population by the end of 2021.
- UNICEF has been tasked by COVAX to deliver this program because of their decades of experience vaccinating almost half the world’s children every year, and their on-the-ground presence in over 190 countries.
Donald Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, one of the signatories, says: “It’s part of who we are as Canadians to help and when all of us at Teck heard about UNICEF’s fundraising efforts to help them accomplish this monumental effort, we knew we had to step up. We urge others to join in supporting UNICEF, because beating COVID-19 is a global effort and providing access to vaccines will help improve health and safety for everyone.”
Heidi Henschel, Director at Fairmount Foundation, adds: “It just seemed like this Canada-led, UNICEF organized effort for the COVAX initiative was the answer I’d been looking for. I am truly hoping this can inspire others. Most of the time it just doesn’t feel like we alone can make a difference, but together we can have some real impact.”
The Open Letter is part of a wider fundraising campaign for UNICEF to raise $10M by the end of June, 2021. Business and philanthropic leaders are encouraged to join UNICEF to support them in providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments globally.
To download the Open Letter and learn more about the urgent mission that UNICEF is taking on, visit: unicef.ca/en/ShareTheHealth
NOTES TO EDITORS
About UNICEF's role in COVAX
UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.
An Open Letter from Canadian business and philanthropic leaders: It’s time for us to #ShareTheHealth
As COVID-19 continues to affect us all, the world needs a united effort to deliver a solution. Only through fair, equitable, and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines, can we truly end this pandemic for everyone.
This is a defining moment in history and we need, more than ever, private and public sector collaboration to accelerate the delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines for every country in the world. And we must move quickly.
An effort of this scale and speed has never been attempted before, and UNICEF’s role is critical to making it happen. UNICEF has been asked to deliver more than two billion vaccines to countries around the world, and we believe Canada can help.
Canada has spoken. Two thirds of people in Canada believe we should play an active part in ensuring lower-income countries have access to COVID-19 vaccines. The pandemic has been scary and uncertain for us all – and vaccines offer us a pathway out. Within months of the vaccines being approved, over 50% of adults in Canada have received their first dose, but this is tragically far less in other parts of the world.
It’s now time for us to #ShareTheHealth. UNICEF Canada is now calling on business and philanthropic leaders across Canada and urging them to support the largest drive in history to deliver vaccinations globally by donating to help end COVID-19 for everyone, everywhere.
We have committed to join UNICEF Canada to #ShareTheHealth for the following reasons:
- As a nation, it takes courage and leadership to help. We are lucky to live in a strong country, with accessible healthcare systems.
- No one is safe until we’re all safe. We are in a race against time and we need to act swiftly to vaccinate as many people as possible before more variants emerge.
- UNICEF is the organization that can get this done. With decades of experience delivering over two billion vaccines globally every year, UNICEF has the knowledge, network and on-the-ground presence to deliver the largest, fastest immunization effort in history, but they need our help.
Each donation is essential. We are donating funds towards this effort for the health and safety of communities around the world and for the future stability of our global economies. With this open letter, we are calling on all Canadian business and philanthropic leaders to join us in supporting UNICEF Canada in raising funds to provide equitable access to vaccines globally.
Through solidarity and global citizenship, we can, and will, end this pandemic if we pull our resources together now and #ShareTheHealth.
- Anthony and L. Britt Giuffre, Fundholders, Anthony and L. Britt Giuffre Family Fund
- Antoine Chagnon, President and CEO, Lallemand
- Bruce Wannamaker, Estate Executor, Eric Jemetz and Stephen Wannamaker Fund
- Carey Garrett, Director, Garrett Family Foundation
- Colin and Mickey MacDonald, Directors, The Colin and Belle MacDonald Family Charitable Foundation
- Donald Lindsay, President and CEO, Teck Resources Ltd.
- Éric St-Pierre, Executive Director, The Trottier Family Foundation
- Eric E Baker, Five B Family Foundation
- Gordon Stothart, President and CEO, IAMGOLD Corp.
- Heidi Henschel, Director, Fairmount Foundation
- John Bianchini, Chairman and CEO, Hatch
- Lauren Gehlen and Jamie Houssian, Trustees, The Cedrus Foundation
- Michael Steinmann, President and CEO, Pan American Silver Corp.
- Mira Oreck, Executive Director, The Houssian Foundation
- Renaud Adams, President and CEO, New Gold Inc.
- Sue Riddell Rose, Director, Riddell Family Charitable Foundation
"These remarkable business and philanthropic leaders are showing the world that nothing is impossible when you lead with courage and compassion. UNICEF is grateful and applauds these leaders who have stepped forward to play a part in the largest drive in history to deliver vaccinations globally and to help end COVID-19 for everyone, everywhere." David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada
Join us in Sharing The Health by visiting www.unicef.ca/ShareTheHealth for more information.