Geneva, 18 October 2021 – The first 298,700 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by Portugal to COVAX arrived in Senegal on 2 October 2021 and will be formally handed over at a ceremony that will take place today in Dakar, in the presence of H.E. the Minister of Health and Social Action of Senegal, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, and the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, Francisco André.
This Portuguese donation is part of a pledge to donate at least 5% of its domestic supply to cooperation partners, under which more than 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been delivered bilaterally to Portuguese-Speaking Countries in Africa and Timor-Leste. In addition, EUR 678,125 in funding have been provided to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) by the Portuguese government and EUR 1.5 million from the Portuguese private sector.
Portugal’s commitment to global vaccination has been growing in recent years, with a pledge of funding made during the Global Vaccine Summit in June 2020 by the Portuguese Minister of Health, who announced that Portugal would contribute for the first time to the Alliance financing Gavi’s core programmes in 2021-2025, with a focus on increasing the access and quality of primary healthcare and reduce child mortality.
“I’m so proud that my homeland, Portugal, is stepping up and contributing to the cause of equitable access by donating doses through COVAX,” said Gavi Board Chair Prof. José Manuel Barroso. “Gavi is very happy to see these first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the Portuguese government reaching the African continent.”
“Portugal has been showing growing leadership in global health, funding routine immunisation programmes through Gavi in the 2021-2025 period,” stressed Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley. “In addition to EUR 678,125 funding already provided to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment by the Portuguese government and EUR 1.5 million from the Portuguese private sector, this dose donation shows the continued commitment of the Portuguese people to equitable access to vaccines.”
Donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensures that no dose goes to waste, and helps to bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic. The donation of doses via COVAX is enabled via tripartite agreements between Gavi, manufacturers, and donating countries. The shipments to countries will be enabled by COVAX delivery partners UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Over 600 million doses have already been pledged to COVAX by a number of countries in response to short-term supply challenges and the rise of new variants. Working with donor governments to operationalise growing numbers of dose-sharing pledges, COVAX expects to see more deliveries of donated doses in the weeks and months to come.