Geneva, 29 November 2021 – Building on Europe-wide pledges to share at least 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in 2021 and 2022, nine additional European Union Member States have shared doses with COVAX:
These nations have all answered the call and stepped up to support global equitable access to vaccines. The first of these doses have already been shipped to Egypt (691,200 from the Czech Republic, 419,000 from Croatia), Nigeria (496,800 from Ireland), Lao PDR (199,200 from the Netherlands) and Syria (36,000 from Croatia and 16,800 from the Czech Republic). Additional doses will be delivered soon to countries including Vietnam (85,300 from Cyprus, 235,700 from Lithuania), Ghana (276,000 from Ireland), Indonesia (235,200 from Ireland), Rwanda (256,800 from the Slovak Republic, 96,000 from Estonia, 93,600 from Slovenia), Uganda (142,500 from Estonia), the Republic of the Congo (230,400 from Slovenia), Kenya (750,700 from the Netherlands), Syria (21,600 from the Czech Republic) and Yemen (316,800 from the Netherlands, 180,000 from the Slovak Republic).
“Team Europe has been at the forefront of COVAX dose-sharing, and we welcome these strong shows of support from nine EU Member States, who are donating millions of doses to COVAX that will soon ship to lower-income economies,” said Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, Gavi Managing Director for Resource Mobilisation, Private Sector Partnerships and Innovative Finance. “Thanks to Team Europe’s donations, more people worldwide will be protected against COVID-19.”
Team Europe has led the way in building and strengthening COVAX, and is now fulfilling a commitment to share over 300 million doses with low and lower-middle income countries by end 2021, and the European Commission will contribute an additional 200 million doses by mid-2022, of which the majority is destined for COVAX. Funding by the European Commission, European Investment Bank and EU Member States to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) totals over EUR 3 billion.
“Worldwide access to vaccines is very important,” stressed Hugo de Jonge, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport of the Netherlands. “This is the only way we can prevent the development of the virus and mutations worldwide. Therefore this year’s goal for the Netherlands is ‘Get one, give one’: for every vaccine we use nationally, we want to donate one to countries that need them.”
"The fight against COVID-19 is a global one,” added Milena Hrdinková, Czech State Secretary for European Affairs. “We will only be safe if there are enough vaccines for everybody around the world. I am happy that the Czech Republic takes part in this common endeavour."
Global solidarity through vaccine sharing is the only way out of this pandemic that is affecting the entire world, Slovenian Minister of Health Janez Poklukar noted: “The donations of the vaccines are therefore steps in the right direction and are a clear proof of our awareness and understanding how interdependent we are. The virus is a reminder that we need to distance ourselves from individualism to survive as a society. The Slovenian donation is on the way to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to assist both countries in their struggle to protect citizens against COVID-19. And we are pleased to be able to contribute to safeguarding of people’s health and wellbeing.”
“I believe that everyone should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, no matter where they live,” Ireland’s Minister for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy T.D., said. “As we know from our own experience, vaccines significantly reduce risk of serious illness. Improving the numbers of people vaccinated worldwide is essential to getting the pandemic under control. Ireland has a longstanding relationship with Nigeria and we are happy to support their efforts to keep their people safe. We have committed to sharing 1.3 million vaccine doses with other countries through COVAX as we play our part in the global response to this pandemic.”
“The SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 pandemic affects every single one of us and therefore international effort is crucial in defeating this disease,” added Vladimir Lengvarsky, Minister of Health of the Slovak Republic. “Countries individually cannot win this fight. It is hard to understand seeing many rich countries boosting their populations with third doses whilst the poorer countries still struggle to inoculate their populations with first doses. A poorly inoculated world population not only prolongs the length of this pandemic, but also contributes to the emergence of new variants that further throw all of us into new pandemic waves. Slovakia understands it is imperative for global solidarity and is a proud member of the Gavi / COVAX scheme, where we can directly help each other to fight this pandemic.”
“Croatia is happy to take part in the COVAX led global response of solidarity that provides fair and efficient distribution of vaccines to those that need them most,” Croatia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlic-Radman, underlined.
“One of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of global solidarity,” Lithuanian Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys added. “Coronavirus ignores state borders and affects all countries. Therefore, the response must be the same: global and united. Today we appreciate having a mechanism that ensures rapid and targeted redistribution of vaccines to the countries that need them most.”
“The coronavirus pandemic is our common concern globally and to overcome it, we must act together and everyone should have access to vaccines. As there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in African countries, I am very pleased that the first vaccines donated by Estonia are arriving in Uganda and Rwanda,” Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought humanity under enormous challenges and all countries are struggling and fighting hard to restore normality and thus the expression of solidarity is vital and a responsibility of each one of us,” added Cypriot Health Minister Mr Michalis Hadjipantelas. “Cyprus is committed to support, and accelerate vaccination efforts for countries that are in most need. In this frame Cyprus has already pledged to share 200.000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines with lower-income economies through the COVAX Facility. It is with great pleasure to know that our first donations of 85.300 doses through COVAX reach Vietnam. Humanity is facing an unprecedented challenge that creates serious problems among the Countries and the only way out of it, is if we stand united.”
These doses donated by EU Member States are produced by the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna manufacturing networks, and the donations are facilitated by tripartite agreements signed by the Belgian, French and Swedish governments, on behalf of Team Europe, supported by the European Commission, a number of Member States and Norway.
Donating surplus vaccines 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 design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism is being supported by a contribution of CAD 5 million from Canada. COVAX shipments to countries are enabled by delivery partners UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). 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.