In addition to tens of millions of additional doses that have already expired, Canada is expected to dispose of $1 billion worth of COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of the year.
In a report on the Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination programme that was issued on Tuesday, Auditor General Karen Hogan concluded that while the government usually did an excellent job of acquiring and promptly providing vaccinations to the provinces and the people of Canada, it failed to prevent waste.
In her study, Hogan discovered that provincial and federal warehouses have tens of millions of dosages.
According to Hogan’s report, “there were 32.5 million doses in inventory by the end of May 2022, and utilising declassified and public paperwork, we assessed those pills to be worth around $1 billion.”
Out of the 169 million dosages the government received, Hogan discovered that 84.1 million had been administered to Canadians, with an additional 32.5 million still in storage as of May. 10.8 million of those doses, according to health minister Jean-Yves Duclos, have now expired.
While 15.3 million tablets have been donated and an additional 21.7 million have been submitted for donation with no nations identified to accept them, another 13.6 million doses had already expired when Hogan conducted her audit.
Early in the pandemic, before any of the possible vaccine producers had shown effectiveness, Canada placed orders for vaccinations from seven separate businesses, ordering tens of millions more than Canada could reasonably require. Hogan said that numerous nations shared Canada’s predicament.
“I’d like to welcome everyone to come back in March 2020 and the circumstances surrounding the Canada’s signing of advanced purchase agreements at that time. There was an international race to create a vaccine, but nobody knew which businesses would produce effective ones, she added.
The auditor found that although Canada had previously claimed to have donated 50 million pills, only 15.3 million of them had really been utilised abroad. Of the remaining doses, 21.7 million had been identified for donation but had not been sent.
Canada government has also provided funding for 90 million more doses of vaccine to assist underdeveloped nations in paying for their own vaccinations.
If the government cannot locate a nation that requires them, Hogan said that the 21.7 million people waiting for housing will likewise go extinct. She said that despite many other wealthy nations wanting to contribute their dosages as well, the government’s efforts to provide vaccinations had run against a lack of demand.
“The Canadian government was not as effective as they might have been since that market was saturated, but in my opinion it was a wise strategy.”
Although demand in underdeveloped countries has been less than anticipated, Canada nonetheless wants to export more doses since there is still a need. According to him, one of the difficulties is ensuring that the developing nations have the infrastructure required to immunise their citizens.
“One of the things we’re concentrating on right now is really bolstering the health systems in those countries. Therefore, if a pandemic were to recur, we would be able to evenly distribute vaccinations, he stated.
Despite the waste, according to Duclos, the government’s strategy for purchasing vaccines was the appropriate one.
“While creating a surplus, this method was quite effective. In December 2020, Canada was one of the first three nations in the world to deliver dosages, according to him.
Hogan said that the government’s system for handling vaccinations, a piece of software called VaccineConnect that was created especially for the job, is partially to blame for the waste. The application, according to her, contains options that may be used to better keep track of dosages.
We also discovered that the agency’s delay in delivering crucial VaccineConnect functions had an impact on avoiding waste, the author stated.
Outside auditors Deloitte created and oversees the VaccineConnect system. They were awarded a roughly $60 million contract for the system, of which $37.4 million has already been spent.
Hogan said in her report that it was difficult for Health Canada to obtain data on vaccination usage and safety from the provinces and territories and that many of them just refused to do so.
The procurement critic for the Conservative Party, Kelly Block, said the Liberals should have done more to make sure the systems were operating correctly.
“VaccineConnect was the real problem,” she added, “since there was no way to see where those vaccines were being given on the expiration dates, and supply chain visibility was a problem.”