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EU aims to vaccinate 40% of population in initial COVID-19 blueprint

Target is double the goal set by the World Health Organization

The European Union, Britain and other EU partners have agreed on a blueprint that plans to vaccinate 40% of their populations against COVID-19.

This target is double the goal set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has laid out plans to initially buy enough vaccines for 20% of the world’s population.

The WHO’s scheme aims to provide vaccines for groups who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, including health workers and populations of lower-income countries.

The EU’s blueprint document has identified over 200 million people out of its 450 million strong population as belonging to a ‘priority group’, including those with certain diseases, the elderly and healthcare workers.

The document stated: 'Adding (up) all risk groups presently known will designate probably 40% of the population, depending on the situation and demography in countries.' The blueprint has been adopted by health experts from a number of EU members states, Britain, Switzerland, Norway and the Balkans.

Last week, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against vaccine nationalism as countries across the world step up efforts to secure early access to promising COVID-19 vaccines.

In his address last week, Ghebreyesus called on all countries to work collectively to end the pandemic by sharing finite supplies “strategically and globally”.

“No one country has access to research and development, manufacturing and all the supply chains for all essential medicines and materials,” said Ghebreyesus.

“And if we can work together, we can ensure that all essential workers are protected and proven treatments like dexamethasone are available to those who need them,” he added.

Although the EU vaccine plan has no particular timeline, its existence still raises concerns that it could reduce the availably of possible doses for less developed countries.

The European Commission has also asked its member states not to buy vaccines through the WHO’s COVAX scheme, encouraging them instead to use the exclusive EU plan.

Countries intending to be part of the COVAX initiative have until 31 August to submit an expression of interest to join the COVAX facility initiative, with initial payments due by 9 October.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

27th August 2020

From: Healthcare

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