EU announces additional €500 million for COVAX Facility to secure access to COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries, including Eastern partners

22-02-2021
Photo: European Union
Photo: European Union

On 19 February, the European Union announced an additional €500 million for the COVAX Facility, doubling its contribution to date for the global initiative that is leading efforts to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries. This new pledge brings the European Union closer to achieving COVAX's target to deliver 1.3 billion doses for 92 low and middle income countries, including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, by the end of 2021. Team Europe is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million pledged last week by Germany.

“Last year, as part of our Coronavirus Global Response, we committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who would need them. COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal,” said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, announcing the new contribution at the G7 virtual leaders' meeting. “This is why we decided to double the European Commission's contribution to COVAX, to €1 billion. With this new financial boost, we want to make sure vaccines are soon delivered to low and middle-income countries. Because we will only be safe if the whole world is safe.”

The contribution is composed of a new €300 million EU grant and €200 million in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) that will back a loan by the European Investment Bank (EIB). This is subject to the adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) by the Council and the European Parliament. The EIB loan to be guaranteed by EFSD+ is subject to the approval of the EIB's Board of Directors. These funds will complement a previous €100 million grant and €400 million in guarantees from the EU budget.

To date, a total of 191 countries participate in the COVAX Facility, 92 of them low and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

The COVAX Facility aims to purchase 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion doses for low and middle-income countries. It will help to develop a diversified portfolio of vaccines, negotiated with different suppliers, and covering different scientific technologies, delivery times and prices. Vaccines will be procured and delivered to countries by the UNICEF Supply Division and the PAHO's Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines.

Since 4 May 2020, the European Commission together with its partners has helped to raised almost €16 billion under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action in support of universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. Team Europe's contribution was as follows: EU Member States (€3.1 billion), European Commission (over €1.4 billion) and EIB (almost €2 billion pledged in May and €4.9 billion pledged in June).

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