Speech by President von der Leyen at the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Prime Minister Suga,
Dear Yoshihide,

Thank you for hosting this important Summit. To accelerate safe and effective vaccination everywhere we all need to step up efforts. Therefore I appreciate that leaders at the G20 Global Health Summit in May committed to working closely together. This is the only way to get out of the current crisis and to prevent a new pandemic. 

COVAX plays a central role in this. Europe is investing in COVAX, both financially and by sharing vaccines. Because we believe this is the best way to ensure universal, fair and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Our common goal is to leave no one behind. That we promised more than one year ago when we launched COVAX. And this is still true today.

Team Europe has been a lead supporter of COVAX since the start. More than one third of COVAX’s funding comes from Team Europe. The European Union has mobilised 2.8 billion euros so far. I am glad others have joined our efforts. COVAX has delivered over 71 million doses in 125 countries to date. Including to countries like Afghanistan or Yemen, where there is little chance of vaccines arriving without COVAX. This shows the strength of multilateralism and collective solutions.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Today, wealthier countries are vaccinating much faster than others. But the world will not overcome the pandemic if these differences stay. No one will be safe until everyone is safe.

Team Europe has just committed to donate at least 100 million doses to low and middle-income countries by the end of the year. Most of these will be delivered through COVAX. The EU Vaccines’ Strategy is delivering. Not only for Europeans but also for the rest of the world. I trust more will come as soon as deliveries pick up. 

I am particularly grateful that the EU’s industrial partners have committed themselves too. They will make available 1.3 billion doses in 2021. BioNTech-Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna will provide these vaccines at no profit for the low-income countries and at lower prices for the middle-income countries. And they will supply an additional 1 billion or more doses in 2022. It’s in our mutual interest to end this global pandemic as soon as possible.

That’s why the EU, together with the European Investment Bank, will reorient 300 million euros to COVAX. This is Team Europe’s contribution to AVATT, COVAX’s cost-sharing rapid finance scheme. This scheme will help vaccine purchases in Africa. And it will foster links between COVAX and the African Union.

You can continue to count on Team Europe’s commitment. We are here for the long haul. We are here until we end the pandemic everywhere.

Thank you!

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