The European Union Executive Commission plans to double its contribution to the World Health Organization’s COVAX program to bring the 27-nation bloc’s commitment to the initiative to deliver vaccines to poor nations to 1 billion euros ($ 1.2 billion) to increase.
According to an EU official who spoke anonymously, the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, will make the announcement later on Friday during a meeting of the leaders of the group of seven economic powers.
The officer was not allowed to speak publicly because details were not made public.
Von der Leyen will also announce an additional € 100 million (US $ 121.4 million) to support vaccination campaigns in Africa in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The EU is a leading donor to the COVAX program, which aims to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 scans for low and middle income countries. COVAX hopes to have around 336 million cans by the end of June and around 2 billion cans by the end of the year.
However, the program has already missed the target of starting vaccination in poor countries while introducing doses in rich countries.
This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sharply criticized the “wildly unequal and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. 10 countries have given 75% of the world’s vaccinations to date and are calling for a global effort to get all people to all nation vaccinated as soon as possible.
Amnesty International said that failure to ensure global access to vaccines was “a pathetic moral failure that will ultimately harm rich countries”.
“The leaders of the G7 countries are shooting each other in the foot by failing to ensure the worldwide distribution of coronavirus vaccines,” said Netsanet Belay, director of research and advocacy at Amnesty International, when the G7 leaders were ready to hold their first meeting of the year.
The European Union has been criticized for running the bloc’s vaccine procurement process. Although the EU secures a portfolio of up to 2.6 billion doses largely enough to vaccinate its 450 million residents, vaccination in Europe has been slowed by delays in the manufacture and delivery of shots.
In addition to its COVAX contribution, the EU has announced that it will share some of its cans with neighbors in Europe and Africa. Von der Leyen has regularly insisted that global solidarity is necessary not only to help the poorest countries in the world, but also to protect the EU, since “nobody is safe until everyone is safe”.
The UN vaccination plan for poor countries is about to be introduced
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