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EU proposes vaccine-sharing mechanism with low-income countries

Mechanism could provide low-income countries with early access to COVID-19 vaccines

The European Union is proposing the creation of a vaccine-sharing mechanism in order to deliver COVID-19 jabs to priority groups in low-income countries, according to the EU’s health commissioner. 

Stella Kyriakides, who serves as the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, delivered a statement today in which she put forward plans to “ensure that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world”.

These proposals include an EU vaccine-sharing mechanism to aid priority groups in the Western Balkan and neighbouring countries, as well as health professionals in low-income countries – particularly in Africa –  to get early access to COVID-19 jabs.

This European mechanism would allow member states to share vaccines “beyond (EU) borders”, added Kyriakides.

As part of this pledge, the EU will provide grants totalling €70m to the Western Balkans, which will allow it to purchase vaccines from EU member states.

In addition, alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), the EU will provide immediate support of more than €50m, which will go toward vaccination preparedness in the Western Balkans and neighbouring countries.

“COVID-19 has always been bigger than the EU. It is a global pandemic, and it requires global solutions to ensure that no one is left behind,” said Kyriakides.

“No country will be safe, and no economy will truly recover until the virus is under control in all continents. The European Union is ready to play its geopolitical role here, in full alignment with its founding values,” she added.

This week, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that vaccine nationalism poses a “catastrophic moral failure”, as high-income countries agree to bilateral deals for COVID-19 vaccines.

He commented that bilateral deals signed by high-income countries could threaten the WHO’s jointly-led COVAX facility by delaying deliveries and creating a situation of hoarding and uncoordinated responses.

COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the WHO’s ACT Accelerator – a collaborative initiative co-led by the WHO that aims to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

The facility is designed to bolster procurement of promising COVID-19 vaccines to ensure the ‘best possible prices, volumes and timing for all countries’.

The EU and its member states have so far committed over €850m to COVAX. The proposed EU vaccines-sharing mechanism could act as an intermediary response before the facility becomes fully operational, according to Kyriakides.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

19th January 2021

From: Sales

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