“Viruses know no borders,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakidou, speaking before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, stressing that the COVID-19 pandemic “revealed how vulnerable we are – not just as a separate country, but as a global community”.
Commissioner Kyriakidou presented the EU’s role in fighting the pandemic, citing € 46 billion in financial support for global efforts and the fact that the EU has so far vaccinated almost 76% of all adults and 65% of its adult population.
“This is a European success, but it is not enough if we do not vaccinate the world,” he said.
As he said, the main priority is to speed up vaccinations worldwide and achieve 70% coverage by the middle of next year. He added that so far the “Europe Group” has collectively funded the mechanism for the global COVAX vaccination with over 3 billion euros.
The result, he continued, was that through COVAX, 525 million doses have reached 144 countries around the world.
However, he noted that there is a long way to go to reach the goal of delivering 1.4 billion doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021, as COVAX has been severely affected by developments such as the spread of the Delta variant in India and the consequent temporary cessation of vaccine production there.
He also referred to the export of more than 1.2 billion doses to third countries, and the announcement by the Commission that it is committed to providing another 200 million doses to low- and middle-income countries by mid-2022, in addition to the 250 million doses to be sent by Member States by the end of 2021.
Ms. Kyriakidou noted that the EU is activating its own mechanism for delivering vaccines to third countries for faster deliveries outside the COVAX framework, through bilateral donations.
He stressed the need to intensify cooperation with African countries, many of which are below 10% in vaccination rates.
The Commissioner also referred to the EU initiative to boost vaccine production in Africa, an initiative that includes funding of at least € 1 billion from the EU budget.
He also referred to the effort to formulate a holistic response to the pandemic during the 12th meeting of the World Trade Organization through, among other things, the discussion of the issue of intellectual property.
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