The European Union (EU) has announced an additional €500 million for the COVAX Facility, doubling its contribution to ensure equitable access to effective COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries.
A press release from the EU copied to the Ghana News Agency, noted that Europe was one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million pledged by Germany.
Ms Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union, in the statement, said: “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.”
“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,” she added.
The EU said the contribution announced Monday was composed of a new €300 million EU grant and €200 million in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) that would back a loan by the European Investment Bank.
“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 and these funds would complement a previous €100 million grant and €400 million in guarantees from the EU budget,” it said.
In the release, a total of 191 countries participated in the COVAX Facility, 92 of them were low and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) and most of these were in Africa.
Through these contributions, the Commission and its partners will secure purchase options for future COVID-19 vaccines for all the participants in the Facility.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
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 country.