(Source: European Commission)
The European Commission has today announced its intention to step up funding to accelerate roll-out and uptake of vaccines and other COVID-19 tools in Africa, with a further €400 million in support. The Commission also foresees a €427 million euros ($450 million) contribution to the Global Pandemic Preparedness Fund to support efforts to prevent and better respond to future pandemics.
Announcing EU’s stepped up support at the Second COVID-19 Summit, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “The supply of vaccines must go hand in hand with a speedy delivery, especially in Africa. The priority today is to make sure that every dose available is administered. And because we know that the best answer to any potential future health crisis is prevention, we are also stepping up support to strengthen health systems and preparedness capacities.”
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “The pandemic has evolved and the vaccine supply has stabilised, thanks in part to the generous financial and in-kind contributions of Team Europe to COVAX. We have heard our African partners: the challenge now is to accelerate the roll-out and uptake of vaccines on the ground, and to respond to other needs of the COVID-19 response, including therapeutics, diagnostics, and health systems. We will therefore adapt our response to help countries tackle the pandemic through tailored support and be prepared for the future.”
From vaccines to vaccination, pandemic preparedness
In response to the changed supply-demand situation of COVID-19 vaccines, the EU is adapting its efforts by supporting the most efficient use of the available doses. Ensuring equitable access to non-vaccine tools remains essential, as does enhancing the resilience of health systems to prepare for the next pandemic. The support pledged today, as part of Team Europe’s global response, intends to further these objectives.
- €300 million support to vaccination in Africa through the COVAX Facility and other partners. The funds are intended to support the supply of auxiliary material such as syringes, supply chain management, logistics and service delivery, and the administration of vaccines.
- €100 million support to accessing other COVID-19 tools: diagnostics, therapeutics and strengthening health systems. Together with the €50 million recently mobilised for the same purpose, this support worth €150 million in total is intended to be channelled through the COVID-19 Response Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
- €427 ($450) million for the Global Pandemic Preparedness Fund that is to be established, subject to agreement on its governance. The Fund will leverage funds for pandemic preparedness and response, helping to avoid a repetition of the devastating health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in future.
President von der Leyen and President Biden also reaffirmed their commitment to the U.S.-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic, Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now and Building Back Better, initiated at the first COVID-19 Summit in September 2021. In their joint statement, they describe ongoing EU – U.S. cooperation and shared goals in the areas of vaccine equity and shots in arms; strengthening global supply chains and manufacturing; improving the global health security architecture; preparing for future pathogen threats and risks; and research and development for new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
The pandemic, including with the emergence of new virus variants, has constantly evolved and therefore requires a flexible response. The vaccine supply has stabilised, thanks in part to the EU’s combined financial contributions to COVAX and the generous dose donations of EU Member States. By 3 May, EU Member States had shared in total over 470 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which more than 366 million had already been delivered to recipients. COVAX had delivered 1.436 billion doses to 145 countries. Overall, EU has exported 2.2 billion doses to partner countries.
The EU and its Member States had already committed over €1 billion to the rollout and uptake of vaccines and other COVID-19 tools in low and lower-middle income countries.
The EU’s ultimate goal remains to advance Universal Health Coverage in partner countries. Beyond fighting the current pandemic, resilient health systems are the necessary condition of pandemic preparedness and the cornerstone of EU bilateral support to health.
Today’s announcement was made by President von der Leyen at the second Global COVID-19 Summit, co-hosted by the United States as first COVID Summit Chair, Belize, as CARICOM Chair; Germany, holding the G7 Presidency; Indonesia, holding the G20 Presidency; and Senegal as African Union Chair and held virtually.