Geneva, 22 November 2021 – As part of its pledge to share at least 500 million doses of vaccines with low and lower-middle income countries by mid-2022, Team Europe – the European Union Member States, along with Norway and Iceland – is donating 99.6 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for 2021 facilitated by an agreement negotiated by Belgium with European Commission support, with the first doses going to Niger (496,800), Guinea Conakry (496,800), Mauritania (144,000), Central African Republic (302,400), Djibouti (50,400), Nigeria (2,764,800), Togo (633,600) and the Republic of the Congo (230,400). This donation allows COVAX to accelerate its deliveries in 2021 and early 2022.
Team Europe is one of the strongest and most committed supporters of equitable access to vaccines. The EU Member States committed to share over 300 million doses with low and lower-middle income countries by end 2021, and the European Commission will donate an additional 200 million doses by mid-2022, of which the majority is destined for COVAX. The European Commission has also announced EUR 400 million in grants for the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) and EUR 600 million in guarantees through the European Investment Bank. EU Member States have additionally pledged over EUR 2 billion to the Gavi COVAX AMC, bringing total Team Europe financing of COVAX to over EUR 3 billion.
The 99.6m doses were donated by:
“Team Europe moves forward the global solidarity effort against COVID-19,” said Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “This batch of almost 100 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, to be delivered through COVAX, is part of our pledge to share at least 500 million doses of vaccines in the coming months with the most vulnerable countries. The first doses have reached Niger, with more doses arriving in a number of countries this week. We will keep on sharing vaccines. At the same time, we support the build-up of global vaccine manufacturing capacities, especially in Africa.”
“As part of the Team Europe commitment to COVAX, and thanks to the Belgian government’s support, we are delighted to see the first of almost 100 million donated Johnson & Johnson doses heading to Africa,” added Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We have worked hand in hand from the beginning with President von der Leyen, her team, as well as the European Investment Bank and EU Member States to make COVAX a success. This new donation builds on that strong European commitment to equitable access.”
“We welcome the leadership shown by the EC and EU Member States in transferring these doses to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination in low and lower-middle income countries and to help address the global vaccine equity challenge”, said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson. “We will continue to support governments that have doses of our vaccine to share, particularly through the COVAX Facility as we believe that it is an essential mechanism to help combat the pandemic globally.”
These doses donated by EU Member States are produced by the Johnson & Johnson manufacturing network, and the donations are facilitated by a tripartite agreement signed by the Belgian government on behalf of Team Europe, supported by France, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.
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 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).
Over 1.3 billion 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.