The European Union (EU) on Friday announced the doubling of its contribution to COVAX, an international program designed to help low and middle-income countries gain better access to vaccines against the new coronavirus.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told the virtual summit of G7 leaders that the EU is committing to pay an additional 500 million euros ($ 606 million), thus increasing its contribution to the billion-euro global initiative.
The new pledge brings COVAX closer to delivering 1.3 billion doses to 92 low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021, the EU said in a statement. Europe is one of the main contributors to COVAX with more than 2.2 billion euros, including 900 million promised by Germany on Friday.
“Last year, as part of our global response to the coronavirus, we made a commitment to ensure universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who needs them. COVAX is in the best position to help us achieve this goal, ”said von der Leyen. “We will only be safe if the whole world is safe.”
To date, 191 countries participate in the COVAX mechanism, including 92 low- and middle-income economies that can access vaccines thanks to the prior market guarantee of Gavi / COVAX. Most of them are in Africa. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a global health partnership of public and private sector organizations dedicated to “immunization for all”.
According to information released Friday by the World Health Organization (WHO), 251 vaccine candidates are still under development around the world, including 70 in clinical trials, in countries such as Germany, China, Russia. , the United Kingdom and the United States.