Most unused COVID-19 vaccines will expire at the end of the year: auditor general

Most unused COVID-19 vaccines will expire at the end of the year: auditor general
Workers unload a shipment of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine at the FedEx hub at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on May 20, 2021. Canada's auditor general is expected to release two highly anticipated reports on the government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis in 2021, including access to vaccines and pandemic benefits.

Canada’s auditor general says the government has an oversupply of COVID-19 vaccines and most of them are likely to expire and go to waste at the end of the year.

Karen Hogan’s team investigated how well the federal government did getting ahold of COVID-19 vaccine doses and tracking how many people got them.

The auditor gave the Public Health Agency of Canada and Procurement Canada a thumbs up when it came to quickly getting enough doses into the country to meet vaccination goals, but the government did a much poorer job of managing that supply.

She says the government knew that by signing advanced purchase agreements with several pharmaceutical companies there was a risk of buying up more COVID-19 vaccines than were needed for Canadians.

The federal government announced plans to donate some 50 million surplus doses to other countries, but as of May 31, only about 15 million had been given away.

In her report, the auditor says the federal and provincial governments failed to share their data, which made it difficult to track vaccine surplus and waste once the doses were sent to provinces and territories.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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