EU pledges 200M more COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa

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The top EU official said on Wednesday that increasing vaccination for COVID-19 in low-income countries around the world is the number 1 priority right now and is committed to delivering 200 million vaccine doses to Africa.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen used a EU State of the Union speech on Wednesday to announce new donations to be distributed in full by the middle of next year and on top of the 250 million already pledged. Comes.

Even as rich nations are already considering giving large portions of their populations a third, booster shot, everyone in the world’s poorer countries is still waiting to be fully vaccinated, in which there is a strong sense of inequality.

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“Our first and foremost priority is to accelerate global vaccination,” von der Leyen told European lawmakers left almost blank because of continued virus regulations.

Von der Leyen called it “an investment in solidarity and it is also an investment in global health.”

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She said that in addition to delivering 700 million doses to Europeans, the 27-nation bloc had also sent it to 130 countries combined.

“We are the only region in the world to achieve this,” she said. “With less than 1% of the global dose given to low-income countries, the scale of the injustice and the level of urgency is clear.”

Even though the European Union allowed exports, the challenge of getting the world vaccinated remains enormous when its own population is still struggling to get enough doses.

African health officials have said they only need 800 million doses to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent’s population. As of last week, 145 million doses had been procured, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says just 3.5 percent of people in the continent of 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated, amid frustration over hoarding, export controls and the rollout of booster shots in the now wealthy countries.

Looking ahead, von der Leyen said the bloc is also investing 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to boost growth in vaccine production capacity in Africa.

As well as looking inward, the president of the European Commission acknowledged how the bloc was initially caught unawares, with vaccination rates before regrouping and meeting its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults this summer. For a long time it lagged behind America and Britain.

He commended HERA’s preparedness to set up an emergency preparedness and response authority, and stressed that academic science, private sector knowledge should be combined with government officials in a new group that would cost approximately 50 billion euros ($60 billion). should be returned from the grand fund of Rs. till 2027.

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Kara Anna contributed to this Nairobic report

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