Ensuring access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines around the world, and notably for low and middle-income countries, is a priority for the bloc, says the EU.
At the health summit in Rome, on 21 May 2021, President von der Leyen announced that ‘Team Europe’ would share with low and middle-income countries at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021, mainly via COVAX, our partner in vaccinating the world.
Team Europe (the EU, its institutions and all 27 Member States) is on track to exceed this initial goal, with 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines foreseen to be shared with the countries that need them most, by the end of 2021.
“Team Europe takes its responsibility in helping the world fight the virus, everywhere. Vaccination is key – that’s why it is essential to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. We will be sharing more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with low and middle-income countries by the end of this year.”Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
The more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that have been committed by Team Europe will reach their destination countries, mainly through COVAX, by the end of this year.
COVAX has so far delivered 122 million doses to 136 countries.
In parallel, Team Europe has launched an initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa.
The initiative will help create the right conditions for local vaccine manufacturing in Africa, backed by €1 billion from the EU budget and the European development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB).
On 9 July, Team Europe agreed to support large-scale investment in vaccine production by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, alongside other support measures. The new manufacturing plant will reduce Africa’s 99% dependence on vaccine imports and strengthen future pandemic resilience in the continent.
The EU has been the driving force behind the Coronavirus Global Response and the creation of the ACT-Accelerator, the world’s facility for access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.
As most low and middle-income countries need time and investments to build their own manufacturing capacities, the immediate and most effective response still is vaccine sharing.
The Global Health Summit was convened by President von der Leyen and the Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi on 21 May 2021. This very first G20 summit on health marked the beginning of a new chapter in global health policy.
World leaders committed to multilateralism, global cooperation in health and to ramping up vaccine manufacturing capacities worldwide, to make this pandemic the last pandemic.