The European Commission has announced its intention to step up funding to accelerate the 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 ($450 million) contribution to the Global Pandemic Preparedness Fund to support efforts to prevent and better respond to future pandemics. 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 yesterday, as part of Team Europe’s Global Response, intends to further these objectives.
President of the 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.”
During the second COVID-19 Summit, 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.
Source: European Commission